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Career Choice: In between two opinions

  • Thread starter Zaya Bell
  • Start date
  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am a university student studying physics hoping to chase a career in the field. But recently I discovered my love and talent for explaining science in a basic level people who have no idea what it is that they understand, I also like convincing some unbelievers that science works. Then even more, I'm better at writing than speaking, I sometimes write articles on science.

So, I was thinking on a possibility of becoming a science writer/journalist or continue with my science ambition or maybe both if possible. I was reading a book written by a science writer and I enjoyed it, you know the explanation, the way they make it less technical and understanding, in fact I even enjoyed it more than reading a research paper. Then my possibility of getting a PhD degree is weakening due to some circumstances. But also I'm not sure if I'll like to pursue a degree in journalism.

Considering these factors, I want you guys to please give me an advice on my choice
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
berkeman
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You can look into a career as a Technical Writer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_writer

You would target larger companies that have scientific products, and work in their Marketing division (most likely) writing user documentation for their products (User Manuals, Datasheets, White Papers, etc.). We use technical writers here at my company to write user documentation for our electronic products. I especially like working with technical writers who have a technical background, because they are able to do much more of the writing themselves, as opposed to me doing most of the writing and them just formatting it nicely for the final documents.

Maybe have a look at the Wikipedia article and its links/references, and then search some larger scientific companies to see if they list Technical Writer on their employments pages.
 
  • #3
39
5
You can look into a career as a Technical Writer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_writer

You would target larger companies that have scientific products, and work in their Marketing division (most likely) writing user documentation for their products (User Manuals, Datasheets, White Papers, etc.). We use technical writers here at my company to write user documentation for our electronic products. I especially like working with technical writers who have a technical background, because they are able to do much more of the writing themselves, as opposed to me doing most of the writing and them just formatting it nicely for the final documents.

Maybe have a look at the Wikipedia article and its links/references, and then search some larger scientific companies to see if they list Technical Writer on their employments pages.
I want to ask, do you think i should focus full time on this or just let it be something I just know how to do. Thanks.
 
  • #4
berkeman
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What year are you at university? I wouldn't switch to an English major, but I might mix in some writing classes as electives in addition to working on the BS Physics degree. You might also look for summer jobs that involve writing to see if you enjoy doing it.
 
  • #5
Choppy
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Intentionally trying to make a career out of "convincing unbelievers that science works" is a bad idea. Not that this isn't a noble goal, but if you think if it from a business perspective, you're essentially trying to sell people something they specifically don't want.

Most science writers tend to have a background in science and pick up the writing aspect of it on the side, in my experience. The decision that you're making right now isn't really what career you want, it's what education you want. And from that perspective, it would seem that focusing on the science or physics side of things will probably help you the most. While you're doing that you could:
- start up a science blog
- write for your school newspaper
- interview different professors at your university about your research
- get involved with your local undergraduate physics society
- start a science You Tube channel
- attempt to sell some freelance articles to popular science magazines and websites
 

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