Ask a DZone Editor: How Did You Get Started in Tech Editing?
Ask a DZone Editor: How Did You Get Started in Tech Editing?
Ever wondered how to get into tech media? Five members of our editorial team share the career paths that led them to DZone.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Need writing advice or input on how DZone works? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Ask a DZone Editor" in the subject line, and we might feature your question in a future edition of this monthly Writers' Zone column. We're here to help!
This month's question comes from Twitter. Freelance writer (and long-ago DZone employee) Moe Long (@mitchellclong) mentioned, "I'd be interested in seeing a round table where each editor talks about their writing journey and how they got into the tech media space."
I thought that was an awesome idea, so I asked a few other members of the editorial team to share how they got into tech editing. If you're interested in joining our staff (we're hiring!), or if you're a writer who wants to enter the tech field, you may see you own journey reflected in the responses below. Or you may find inspiration for the next step in your career.
Step into our shared office and meet five members of DZone's content team!
Caitlin Candelmo, Director of Content & Community
I knew since college that I wanted to work with authors. As soon as I became a tutor at my school’s Writing Center, I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed helping a writer improve his or her work more than I wanted to be a writer myself. After I graduated, I found my way into the publishing world and managed authors writing Criminal Justice and Sociology textbooks.
I then transitioned to becoming an editor and project manager for authors working in the Gaming and Animation fields. It fascinated me how people were inventing new technologies and constantly changing how games and movies were made and experienced. This was a field that I wanted to stay in and continue to learn about. Flash forward a few years and I now find myself working with technical content and people on a daily basis. As a person with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Science degree in Communication and Public Relations, there’s a lot for me to learn about software development. Working at DZone is perfect because I can work with an amazing team of editors and also use my experience and expertise to help highly technical and intelligent software developers craft the perfect articles!
Jordan Baker, Content Coordinator
While pursuing a master’s degree in history, I started looking around at jobs that I would qualify for (writing, editing, research) and noticed a lot of these types of roles required some knowledge of HTML and some CSS. So, over the summer I taught myself a little HTML and discovered I actually liked messing around with code. So, after graduation, I continued my self education in front-end tech and luckily landed a job that allows me to combine my love of the written word with my growing interest in development and coding. I really enjoy working at DZone because of the relaxed but passionate approach that everyone brings to their jobs, I get to work with writing and research, and my coworkers are just awesome (not to mention the casual dress policy is pretty awesome!).
Mike Gates, Senior Content Coordinator
I remember being very young – in elementary school – and being fed up with reports and projects. It was then I swore I’d never have a job that involved reading or writing.
So much for that.
My journey into tech editing started with journalism. I took a couple of journalism courses at the community college I attended and fell in love with it. As I moved onto a full university, I discovered an even deeper love of copy editing I never knew I had.
But as I was ready to graduate, I noticed that most news outlets simply dropped their copy editing staffers, and that getting a job would be harder than I thought. Fortunately, it seems the “private sector” as I call non-journalism, non-government jobs, is picking up the slack.
I hopped aboard the DZone train about two years ago, after five years as a community journalist, and ever since, I’ve been trying to convey and clarify the words of software professionals all over the world.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that communication isn’t about punctuation or grammar — it’s about conveying ideas. Yes, the rules are there for a reason — standardization makes most everything easier — but as long as the message is delivered and understood, that’s the important part.
Sarah Davis, Content Coordinator
I’ve always been interested in writing and editing, from pretending to write newspaper stories on my grandparents’ typewriter when I was a kid to being a writer and editor for a couple of publications when I was in college. The publications I wrote for in college spanned myriad topics and types of articles, from news pieces to interviews to editorials, so I garnered an interest in learning and writing about different subject matter. When I was applying for jobs out of college and saw the job posting for a Content Coordinator at DZone, I was immediately interested in the opportunity to become more familiar with the tech space through both writing and editing. Fast forward to a year and a half later, and I’m more familiar with topics in my Zones of AI, Big Data, and Database than I ever thought I would be, and I’m loving that I get to learn more and more every day about the world of tech and software development.
Michael Tharrington, Content & Community Manager
I came to DZone initially as an Editor… probably by luck more than anything else. I had (have!) a degree in Creative Writing and my work experience ranged from waiting tables to caregiving for mentally disabled adults. On the technical side of things, my knowledge consisted of building gaming PCs and helping computer illiterate folks solve basic problems with their devices—mostly just by Googling stuff. To me, coding was just magic—a long recipe of indiscernible numbers and text… and admittedly, it still is pretty foreign. But, that’s something that I enjoy about this gig—I like to work in heavy technical material that is way above my head, with writers (half of which are coming at English as a second language) that know a lot about development but maybe need a little help with their writing skills. It’s interesting to me because it continually offers me the opportunity to both learn about tech from passionate developers and teach people about writing—my passion. And, while today I’m no longer an Editor, but instead acting as a Content and Community Manager, I still credit most of my dev knowledge and the relationships I made to my time in the editorial trenches, working with the different contributors to DZone, article by article.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.