Curiosity killed the cat.
And the engineer, too.
Like most technology writers I wasn’t born a journalist. It took me a while to find the ‚write‘ way. Here’s how it happened:
I’m interested in how things work. Even as a child I was taking apart baby rattles, slot cars, bicycles and radios. Eventually I studied mechanical engineering, which answered quite a few questions and helped me to answer even more myself.
What a disappointment when I learned that the job of an engineer is to answer usually only one question, e. g. how to build a better cleanroom or a more efficient wind power plant. What about all the other interesting questions?
It took me about 10 years as an engineer to find a profession where nosiness is actually encouraged and curiosity is a prerequisite: journalism. In 1999 I swapped numbers for letters, graphs for layouts and the pocket calculator for a notebook.
Well, sort of. To make things easier I started writing for German engineering magazines, namely ‚Scope‘ and ‚Handling‘. Finally it was my job to be interested in everything from hose clips to air compressors, from screwdrivers to CAD software.
After a while my new occupation somehow rubbed of on me and I got interested in language itself, the English language to be exact. After a few English articles for Australian magazines I came up with the concept for an English language teaching magazine for German engineers. Suddenly a lot of questions had to be answered. Teaching myself editorial design, page layout and studying how magazines are made helped a lot. Enough to produce a dummy magazine that was convincing enough to stop my publisher asking those pesky questions about readers and revenues.
‚engine‘ finally reached the market in 2003 and in 2010 has been awarded ‘special interest magazine of the year’. In 2013 I decided to move on but science and technology writing and freelance journalism still provide me with a stream of questions I love to wonder and write about.