Re: New Hires

Subject: Re: New Hires
From: "Sella Rush" <sellar -at- apptechsys -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 18:31:09 -0800

In another recent thread, someone commented (I'll probably get this wrong)
that his solution for figuring out a solution was to find someone else who'd
already figured it out and save hours of redundant research. Sounds like a
good justification for training to me.

I think Eric Dunn made a good point reminding us that not all tech writers
are in the computer industry. But a number of computer-related topics would
be pretty darned valuable to the new graduate with student loans looming.
Online help is probably the most important, and I would also agree that
HTML/web design is way up there (although not necessarily in NotePad). A
good program might offer these courses as electives along with non-computer
related classes, allowing the student to choose their focus. The medical
and legal fields might benefit from a specialized class, as would marketing
(nobody scream).

My TC certificate program handled the tool issue by telling students what
tools are important in the field and in some cases requiring use of a
certain tool, although not spending any time teaching the tool. I
discovered WinHelp because one of my teachers talked about it incessantly--I
chose to learn it on my own, and it was the main reason I got my first job.
In another class on page design and layout, we had to produce a final paper
using Pagemaker.

I also think editing is essential--with an emphasis on substantive
editing--organizing information.

I haven't seen anyone mention project planning and management. This was a
very valuable class for me.

Another general course would be in presentations/training/public speaking.
I'm less skilled at expressing myself verbally, and this can hurt me when I
talk with SMEs.

I sure wish there was a way to simulate the experience of documented a
half-built, un-spec'd program with an interface that doesn't exist yet.

Which reminds me. A class or a section on the process of software
development, what to expect, and how to fit in the documentation would come
in really handy.

Sella Rush
mailto:sellar -at- apptechsys -dot- com
Applied Technical Systems (ATS)
Bremerton, Washington
Developers of the CCM Database

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