Re: New Hires

Subject: Re: New Hires
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 13:45:17 -0500

Susan Loudermilk wrote

> We are looking at making some changes to the tech writing degree here at
> Texas A&M Corpus Christi. This is directed toward those of you who hire
> tech writers right out of college. What types of
> classes/activities/skills/portfolio work do you look for in an
> undergraduate experience?

Start by reading JoAnn Hackos excellent article in the January 2000 edition
of Intercom. She does an great job of showing how the profession will change
in the next few years. It will hopefully give you some idea of why those of
us who have been living for some time now in the future she describes, see
little of value in current technical communication curriculums.

The key point is this. Technical communication will cease to be a cottage
industry. People will cease to own a development project from beginning to
end. Technical communication departments will be staffed by specialists in a
number of different areas who will attend and manage a central information

These are the skills that will be in demand:

Text programming (my pick for hot career field of the future)
Modular content development
Rule based dynamic presentation design
Database design/administration
Editing (which means editing for adherence to the rules of the system)

Skills definitely not in demand will include:

Desktop publishing
Handmade static presentation design
Creative writing or personal style

It is not that conventional book-writing jobs will not exist, because they
certainly will. But that will not be where the demand is. The skills I am
looking for now, the skills more and more people will be looking for and
having a hard time finding, are the skills outlined above.

Mark Baker
Senior Technical Communicator
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1J 9B8
Phone: 613-745-4242
Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com

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