As a young computer geek fresh out of high school, it was my goal to work in IT. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved computers and wanted to work with them.
After earning my associate's degree and working a few temp tech support jobs, I changed my mind. Long days of being yelled at by frustrated users was emotionally draining. I knew they weren't mad at me personally, they were just struggling to use the technology they needed to get things done. I wanted to help them before they got to that point.
It was at an administrative job at a local career school that I got my first taste of technical writing. The school had an online entrance exam that all students were required to pass. Applicants took the test in the school's computer lab, where a staff member would walk them through logging onto the computer, going to the test website, creating an account, and starting the test. This was a time-consuming process that just didn't work when there were 20-30 applicants there to take the test.
So I came up with the idea to write a set of instructions and hand them out to each applicant. I wrote out the steps to get set up and start the test with some primitive screenshots I edited in MS Paint. My instructions went through a few drafts as I gave them to applicants, listened to their questions and observed where they got stuck or confused. Ultimately, with my instructions, out of 20-30 applicants, only one or two would still need my help to start the test.
This experience is what inspired me to make technical writing my career. It combined my love of computers with my love of writing and drive to help people use technology effectively and efficiently.
I went back to school and earned my bachelor's in communication, did some freelance writing for a while, then went back to school again and earned my master's in technical communication. I've been doing what I love full time ever since.