I have followed specific technical writing courses and attended conferences.
I became a technical writer by chance, starting thirty years ago describing manufacturing procedures to produce artifical kidneys, using a pen and paper.
After a break of ten years when I busied myself with children and renovations, I took up technical writing again, once more following a chance encounter. I worked at LMS International for the next ten years, writing the manuals for most of their standard products. For most of this time I worked as the sole writer using a variety of tools. We moved from using a desktop publishing system to produce printed manuals, to producing online help and I was instrumental in managing the transition to an xml based content management system which generated different manual types, for a range of products and options. During this time I took as much interest and reward in the publication of the documentation as the creation of the content.
During a further two years I worked as a usability engineer at LMS. Assessing the usability of software is inextricably linked to writing the manuals for it.
Since the start of 2003 I have worked as an independent free-lance technical writer. As well as writing manuals, I have also written white papers, copy for web sites, edited technical papers and press releases.
My most important asset is my technical background. I understand engineering concepts. I can take on the role of the user and write manuals for complex, sophisticated software.
The often solitary occupation of writing suits me well, though I enjoy my contact with the subject matter experts with whom I work. I am self motivated and reliable.