Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer

Subject: Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 16:54:34 -0800 (PST)

<WIM01 -at- aol -dot- com> wrote in message news:36269 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> Hi! I have a Technical Writing background. I would like to do work as a Web

> Designer. I've been told that a person educated as technical writer can be
> employed as a Web Designer. I've been searching for a Web Design position in

> New York but have not been lucky enough to land anything. What skills might
> a technical writer possess that would enable them to be considered for a web
> position? What skills might a technical writer need to acquire before being
> considered for a web position?

Tech writing is not the same as web development. To be employed as a web
designer you need special skills.

Good web designers have strong programming and graphic design skills. Writing
skills are virtually unnecessary. You might not agree with this, but most
places hiring web designers do not care about writing proficiency.

Some writers try for "content only" web positions where all you do is produce
content and hand it over to a programmer for coding. Most of these are
"editorial" type positions and they pay really low wages. If you want to make
good money in web development you must learn web tools and technologies.

The basics: HTML, web servers (like IIS or Mozilla), JavaScript, web
architecture, basic graphic design. The best way to learn is learn how sites
are architected.

In demand skills: ASP, ColdFusion, Java, Flash, Director. These
tools/technologies are in really hot demand right now. ASP programmers are very
hot and can command big salaries. However, they usually need strong C++
experience to write the server-side handlers. Java programmers (especially
those with server-side EJB, CORBA, and JavaBeans) are super hot. We regularly
place good Java programmers into positions earning six figures.

Also good to know: SQL and RDBMS's. Most large sites are run off a database
backend. To architect a large site, you had better know your basic relational
database concepts and how to make calls to a SQL backend.

Best way to learn these things - get on to a project at work building a site.

Andrew Plato
President / Principal Consultant
Anitian Consulting / TechAgent

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