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I'm 39, have no problem learning new software, but I'm not a programmer and
don't want to be. I can best anyone I know in making MS Word do tricks. I
can't write XML, but I can use any DTP, HAT or graphics program given a
short period of time. More important(ly), I got an education in marketing,
business, economics, art AND basic writing. All of that and life in general
helped endow me with insatiable curiosity, and consistently challenged my
brain, as well as my eye-hand coordination (believe me that's a major deal
for one as clumsy as me!) I don't have a tech writing degree, and have no
desire to get one. Life teaches me more than my brain can hold. My great
joy is taking what I learn everywhere and applying it to what I do everyday.
My experience lately has been that the vast majority of recent college grads
do not have a solid grasp of basic sentence structure, syntax or spelling.
They've never been taught to outline what they have to write, and so the
result is badly organized, poorly written, nearly incomprehensible rubbish.
It looks pretty, but it doesn't tell me anything I want to know, or need to
know. I hope your experience has been more positive.
I don't disagree with all of your points, but I do think universities have a
need to get back to basics, public schools in the US certainly haven't been
able to do so.
Give me a college grad with solid writing skills, who presents themselves
well, has basic knowledge of technology, and enthusiasm and curiosity in
abundance, and in a couple of years I'll give you back a great tech writer.
My 2 cents for whatever it's worth
From: Ron Rhodes [snip]
If a student wants to get started in tech-writing, a University should do
it's best to prepare them for their job. Not all of my suggestions are
absolute requirements. But any student should take a good many of them
into consideration. After all, a student has 3-4 years to take classes --
that's a lot of time.
I can't tell you how many times some young kid just out of school has come
along and put me to shame with all of their skills and know-how, and I'm