Re: New Hires

Subject: Re: New Hires
From: Steve Read <seread -at- pacbell -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 18:30:50 -0800

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is rubbish.

Ron Rhodes wrote:

> Before I talk about the gadgets and whiz-bangs. Let me say that knowing how
> to write well is invaluable.


Most of what you talk about is gadgets and whiz-bangs.

> Also, be sure that your students have a good working knowledge of all the
> products in Microsoft Office. Complete mastery of MS Word is an absolute
> must! But knowing PowerPoint, Access, and Excel are equally critical.

I have never, in my 15 or so years as a tech writer, used PowerPoint,
Access, or Excel for anything but the most trivial of tasks. Complete
mastery of MS Word is both impractical and unnecessary. It would be far
better to have a noddinq acquaintance with FrameMaker.

> More technical savvy is a plus for any young skipper. In fact, for many of
> us who have been in the biz for a while, these technically savvy "young-uns"
> are actually a little intimidating. These technical skills should include
> authoring tools like RoboHelp, Authorware, Photoshop and other similar
> products.

You're describing a *training course*. I think an *education* is far
more important. Why are you intimidated by someone who knows Authorware?
Would it bother you if they spoke Flemish?

> Also a good knowledge of creating HTML pages from scratch (that means right
> from WordPad) --

Why use WordPad? Wouldn't a legal pad work just as well?

< more snipping >

> I hope I haven't turned your four-year undergrad program into a six-year
> masters degree.

Nope, you've turned it into vocational school.

An emphasis on tools will gain you people who know how to use tools.
Let's have a look at the cutting-edge tools I was using 15 years ago,
and see which of those are still useful today:

- Troff
- vi
- a very sharp knife for working with bluelines

Now let's consider what I learned by getting an English degree:

- the ability to read and interpret complex material, research it
further, and then write about it in a coherent fashion

You tell me which skills are still valid.

Steve Read

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