Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
lalo630

What type of writing do Engineers do?

4 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone,

 

I am still a student and am currently taking a technical writing class. I am supposed to interview someone who currently works in the field I am going to school for. The problem is that I don not know any engineers.

 

Is there an engineer who is willing participate in this assignment? You would have to provide Your contact information, some samples of your writing, a picture of yourself and or office, and answer some of the following questions.

 

 

 

How many engineering positions have you had?

Do you enjoy writing?

What tasks do you do that involve writing in your job position?

Do you use the writing formats/styles that you learned in school?

How often do you encounter a disorganized email and/or document?

Does reading an unformatted/disorganized document take time away from other job tasks?

Have you ever had to second guess what a person meant when you read their writing?

Did you ever have to ask a person what they meant?

Do you proofread your writing?

Have writing styles changed in the engineering field since you have started?

 

 

The information can be sent here or through a PM. This would really help me for my assignment and future career.

Thank you and I appreciate any help I receive.

 

 

 

Best Regards,

Abelardo

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I presently both practice and teach, so, in reference only to the engineering side, which is maybe 30% of my professional life these days:

 

 

How many engineering positions have you had?

 

*4 or so in the last 30 years.  Current engineering position has been about 10 years, and is a different field than my degree (mechanical eng/welding is the core scope, but my degree is semiconductor fab/computer eng. I cover a wider base than that, mostly by being liaison between the company and clients or inspectors) I haven't actually worked primarily in my nominal field since the late 1980's.

 

 

Do you enjoy writing?

 

*to a point

 

What tasks do you do that involve writing in your job position?

 

*Job bids/proposals; RFI/RFQ (request for info/request for quote); evaluations; training materials; compliance materials (safety program, statements of compliance, etc); professional opinion documents; requirements documents; interpretations (code and standards, regulations); documantation/logs for jobs;

 

Do you use the writing formats/styles that you learned in school?

 

*Sometimes. Much of what I do is specialized, though not as specialized as the 2-page-long paragraphs found in military specifications and RFQ's, and much is dealing with non-engineer-tpe, often non-native english speakers (spanish, norwegian, japanese, german, korean, etc), so the formal styles that were focused on when I was in school don't match well. THings have likely changed, though, so the current teaching practice ma be a better match.

 

How often do you encounter a disorganized email and/or document?

 

*Daily. Hourly.

 

Does reading an un-formatted/disorganized document take time away from other job tasks?

 

*Yes

 

Have you ever had to second guess what a person meant when you read their writing?

 

*yes. Daily. Hourly.

 

Did you ever have to ask a person what they meant?

 

*yes

 

Do you proofread your writing?

 

*Yes. I prefer someone else do so, as well. You need to be your own first critic in ANYTHING you do (writing, circuit design, welding, mechanical design, or anything else), but it is easy to be drawn in to what you think you have written. A fresh look helps, especially when it is someone who is not as familiar with the topic as you are.

 

Have writing styles changed in the engineering field since you have started?

 

*Yup. Computers have made a big difference, as has the default software (MSword). Hand written math  and symbols died not long after I got out of school, expectation of good formatting of text came in at about the same time. For a time, math was either very well formatted (professional tools were used), or was crap (MSword/macwrite). Now, there is a general mediocrity, but most of the time, things can be interpreted. The indented paragraph has given way to the double line-break. The parenthesized clause has become acceptable (and I have accepted it). Spelling is much better with spell check, though odd errors are more common. In the last several years, I have been seeing more textspeak in non-casual documents (for example: "the site crew will return at a l8er date, no less than 30 days and no more than 45 days after work acceptance, to re-pressure test all welds and mechanical joints".) I have also seen a lot more of the use of verbal crutch sounds in written documents (an RFQ starting "So the scope of work shall be"... with no antecedent)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many engineering positions have you had?


I have worked for 4 companies since 1978.


 


Do you enjoy writing?


Yes I do.


 


What tasks do you do that involve writing in your job position?


Reports, presentations, emails, application notes, magazine articles, articles in technical journals.


 


Do you use the writing formats/styles that you learned in school?


Only for the more "formal" works like technical articles. My style is probably more "breezy" and informal than it should be. FOr example, I titled an application note "How to avoid getting burned by junction temperature."


 


How often do you encounter a disorganized email and/or document?


I am posting on a forum, aren't I? 8^)


But not that often in my actual job.


 


Does reading an unformatted/disorganized document take time away from other job tasks?


Not that much, often it is from a person who is using English as a second language. I cut these folks a lot of slack since I can't write *anything* in another language.


 


Have you ever had to second guess what a person meant when you read their writing?


Yes, usually because of bad editing.


 


Did you ever have to ask a person what they meant?


Yes. I have no problem making sure I understand - especially if it is important.


 


Do you proofread your writing?


Absolutely, but it seems I don't proofread forum posts until after I hit "send". 8^)


 


Have writing styles changed in the engineering field since you have started?


I don't think so, there have always been levels of formality. Think Bob Pease.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0