Honing his craft

James Cho

Photo by Matthew Weber, CLAgency student.

Only two years ago, James Cho had no idea how to explain to others that technical writing and communication is much more than “just writing instruction manuals.”

He’s come a long way since then. In early 2017, Cho applied for an internship at Tesla, one of the largest automakers in California and an industry leader in sustainable transport and energy.

“I had a phone interview with the senior technical writer of the team and was emailed an offer for a spring internship the next day,” he says.

Cho joins Tesla as a technical writing intern, using the knowledge and practical skills he’s learned at the University of Minnesota to help Tesla’s products succeed.

“Technical writing is in demand in high-tech fields, [so] it really was a no-brainer for me to apply,” he says.

And he’s particularly excited for his position.

Cho will be creating internal-use engineering documentation for the (recently launched into space) Tesla Roadster. 

As part of the job, Cho will get to interview the experts behind the design and creation of the car to “formulate manuals, specification sheets, and other deliverables that support all facets of the Roadster product line,” he says.

It’s behind-the-scenes work, but no less important for the success of the company.

“Tesla has always been one of my dream companies,” says Cho. “[They’ve] always stood out to me because I think their cars and solar panels are incredibly innovative.”

Cho, who just graduated from the U of M with a bachelor of science in technical writing and communication, says that studying technical writing gave him an advantage because it's such a niche area within the tech field.

“Being that person whose entire undergraduate career was devoted to honing this unique, specialized craft has been an amazing opportunity that I'm very grateful for.”


A version of this story, written by student Tiffany Nguyen, appears on the CLAgency blog.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities