My MSTC degree has been extremely valuable. I learned a lot by working with a network of top-notch faculty and peers in the MSTC program. As a teaching assistant, the program afforded me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the technical and professional communication through teaching it to students of other disciplines. The knowledge, experience, and connections I made through my time at State ultimately opened the door to many new professional opportunities.
– Christopher Sanchez, 2018
The MSTC program at NCSU is incredibly unique because it targets both working professionals and students who want the graduate school experience. The flexibility to take night classes so we can work during the day combined with opportunities to conduct independent research allowed me to take full advantage of every opportunity to both explore industry and academia. That isn't an option for a program that is online or a certificate. Furthermore, I feel that we learn skills with great depth; technology changes rapidly, so rather than focus on learning specific software, the program focuses on teaching us which tool we should choose to learn and how to learn it quickly. In addition to the classes, the alumni network in the RTP area (and beyond) has provided incredible support and encouragement. When I was working at my internship, I worked with technical writers, information developers, and usability designers who were graduates of my program. They were able to provide amazing guidance for both career development and job skills while I worked with them. I don't know of any graduate program like ours, with as much career (academic or industry) support from the school, classmates, and alumni.
– Laura Zdanski, 2017
The MSTC program has been invaluable to my career. It gave me the ability to find what technical fields I'm interested, while also combining my passion for writing. Having a general knowledge of several technical communication professions allowed me to speak knowledgeably in job interviews, as well as allowing me to dive into assorted projects at work. MSTC stands out because of the professors and the content of courses. The professors really want all of their students to succeed and genuinely care about them as people. The program allows students to gain a solid understanding of the different careers within technical communication, while preparing them to succeed in the corporate world or in academia.
– Alyssa Andersen, 2017
MSTC comprises so much more than technical writing. You're provided with such a diverse, enriching curriculum that not only includes technical documentation, but UX/UI design, instructional design, web/software design/development, rhetoric, linguistics, ergonomics, behavioral psychology, social psychology, gestalt psychology, graphic design, digital media. What a valuable experience, with faculty who are willing to provide you with the very best, and help you every step of the way.
– Jade, MSTC 2017
Personal - I felt that I honed interpersonal and leadership skills through volunteering as an officer of the Technical Communication Association. This allowed me to make connections all over campus as well as amongst students in the English Department and of course the MSTCers.
Professional - The program offered many avenues towards professionalization, including strong relationships with the STC chapter, IBM-NCSU Mentorship Program, TCA-sponsored events such as SpeedCon, courses such as 522 Professional Writing, and the requirement to have a full-time internship or professional working experience. I can say with confidence that I would not have gotten my job so early (August 16 before I graduated in May 17) if it were not for the professional relationships that the program facilitated.
Educational - I really appreciate how supportive the faculty and administration have been of supporting student research. I was able to present at 9 conferences within my two years, including international (ACM SIGDOC, SCCI), regional (RSA CRC), and local venues (NCSU Grad Symposium x2, NC State AEGS x2, NC State CRDM, NC State SpeedCon). I got to present on my own, with fellow classmates, and also with a faculty member (Dr. Pigg). My advisor (Dr. Ding) was very supportive in helping me prepare by reviewing and practicing with me. And finally, the department was very supportive in helping to fund travel to conferences. Besides these Tech Comm-focused venues, I was also able to participate in the NC State academic community at large, in events such as the campus-wide multimedia research design, DELTA professional and instructional development program, and CoAT certificate.
I really appreciated the MSTC curriculum's flexibility, which gave me a strong foundation in rhetoric and practical experience in technical communication, as well as affording me the ability to get a certificate in Digital Humanities. In particular, I think that we have a really great, supportive faculty comprised of industry-leading researchers who are also effective instructors and just great people! The staff are dedicated, professional, friendly, and just make grad school life so much better, which I feel is a great program discriminator.
The people you meet at State, and in the MSTC cohort, are such a sharp, diverse, and friendly group. I am closer to my graduate friends than I was with my undergraduate friends, which I think is pretty rare for a masters program, and was a very welcome surprise to me.
Of course, for many students, I think that professional preparation is what drives their bottom line, and the program has helped me secure a full-time job at a great, international company with a competitive starting salary.
– Arthur Berger, 2017
It is because of the MSTC degree that I found a full-time job as a Technical Writer. This degree is highly valued in the industry and corporations have very high regard for a specialization in Technical Communication field. I have found this degree extremely valuable in helping me transition from my previous job to my current one, and develop my knowledge in the field of technical writing. Having had no previous degree in the field of technical communication, I believe that this degree will help me in directly applying my knowledge at my workplace.
– Sreeranjani Kuppuswami Pattabiraman, 2016
My MSTC study was and remains priceless. Before I joined the program, I had a B.S. in physics and could not find work locally for more than 12-15$ hour. When I joined the program, I worked for Apple, Inc. and could only expect to be moved into a position with a more livable wage if I gained a specific skill set, a skill set that can be learned by the MSTC program. By the end of my first semester in the program, I had received several paying opportunities within the university itself that were at least 50% greater than what I had made when I left Apple to attend the program. Before the end of my first year, I was offered a full-time position with Lenovo, which in hindsight, was my first REAL career-enriching job.
Since the time I entered the program in 2011, my income has increased by nearly 400%! This is astounding, especially when considering the current economic conditions, and not taking into account my gender or race (female and Hispanic).
The MSTC program changed the trajectory of my career path by folding me into a network of alumni and experts in the field who could nurture my transition from student to professional, which has been life changing for me and my family. You can not put a price tag on this type of experience.
Gaining a Masters in Technical Communication from NC State will provide students with the kind of opportunities that are largely believed to be extinct in this day and age; opportunities that provide life-changing careers in a rapidly-evolving technical world that happens to have a BIG communication problem.
– Renee Haran, 2015
I was in the MSTC program class that started back in 2012. I think very fondly of the program for many reasons, but mainly the staff and the exposure to UX principles while the field of UX was still pretty new. Being a part of this program really propelled me into the career I now have and am extremely passionate about. It's crazy to think how much came from that initial connection to IBM through the pathfinder program, eventual evolution to Google, and now Editor-in-Chief of digital experiences at Bank of America HQ. I am so very thankful for the relationships, experience and skills I developed from the MSTC program.
- Alex Heath, 2014