Student Writers: Nicole Richardson and Jeanna Goolsby
Members of FTC have a variety of benefits available to them. These benefits are not your typical benefits like a t-shirt or water bottle. Instead, they will profit the members well after their days at FTC have concluded. Students have the opportunity to network with professionals, as well as other students. The meetings are comprised of information related to the field, and some meetings may include workshops. Through FTC, students are made aware of internships and prospective jobs in the field. FTC also travels to the yearly STC Summit, a conference involving all things regarding technical communication. While most clubs offer momentary, tangible benefits, FTC offers benefits lasting a lifetime.
Networking with professionals has a myriad of benefits. Depending on the professionals’ attendance, students will have the opportunity to meet with them at the FTC meetings. Communicating with these professionals gives students an insight into the profession, and they will gain an understanding of what to expect in their chosen careers. This will aid them in their future job search upon graduation because they will enter in with prior knowledge. Attending meetings will also open them to the possibility of creating contacts within the field. On occasion, professionals have been able to provide information on internships, whether it is at their company or one of their contacts’ companies. Being around professionals in the field prior to graduation is an opportunity students should not miss.
Furthermore, networking with students is a large and beneficial part of FTC. Gathering among other students who share interest in the field of technical communication will undoubtedly increase their connections to the local community of technical communicators. Through interaction with their peers, their chances of excelling in the field improve. FTC provides opportunities to network with students of the same major, or any educational background, through the meetings and informational workshops. Participating in these activities will give students a chance to learn from one another by exchanging ideas and information, and to form lasting friendships in a professional setting.
In addition to networking opportunities, the informational workshops are a great way to learn practical skills for a real technical writing job. FTC helps equip students with the necessary tools to succeed in the workforce, particularly focusing on skills that are not a part of the curriculum for technical communication majors. These workshops teach relevant computer programs such as Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Sharepoint. They also teach resume writing techniques and other useful tips that enhance the students’ qualifications in the workforce. There are three to four workshops offered per semester in the Technical Writing Lab, all of which are free and open to any student. Specific details of upcoming events are posted on the FTC website, and are announced via E-mail for those who are on the FTC mailing list. Attending these workshops benefits the students by allowing them to develop new skills, while networking with others who share the same interests.
Internships are another way to learn about the technical communication profession prior to graduation. By joining FTC, students will have an additional resource to turn to when looking for internships. As mentioned above, networking with professionals at FTC is a way to learn about internship opportunities. FTC has a strong relationship with STC, which improves the chances for students to obtain one.
Each year, FTC takes a group of students to the STC Summit. This conference consists of informational meetings and workshops related to technical communication. Attendance is not mandatory, but it is a great way to learn more about technical communication. By attending the conference, students will have networking opportunities with STC professionals across the nation, as well as other students from FTC chapters in America. The venue does change, so the fees to attend vary. In previous years, the conference has been held in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, and Seattle. The 2011 conference is a four day conference and will take place in Sacramento, California.
All of these benefits share the common goal of enriching the education of future technical communicators. The opportunities to network with others in the field, to learn valuable and practical skills, and to gain real work experience through internships are some of the many benefits that FTC provides for its members. Taking advantage of these opportunities now may make all the difference after graduation when potential employers seek qualified individuals. Students will not regret the decision to invest in their futures by increasing their knowledge and experience, with help from FTC.