Re: Ckarification (was Real Offense)

Subject: Re: Ckarification (was Real Offense)
From: walden miller <waldenm -at- earthlink -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 09:22:43 -0700

I think that the technical writing community is sooooo large that statements like
"ALL tech writers in the computer industry" become meaningless in terms of
describing a set of professionals. I do think that all tech writers who are
writing to a technical audience must have a background in their audiences field.
So, If you are writing API manuals, you should know the language of the API (C,
JAVA, whatever). Likewise, if you are writing an authoring tool manual, you
should have a background that includes design, because your audience consists of
designers.

If not for the technical portion of our backgrounds, whatever it may be, then how
can we lay claim to the professional title of technical writer. Journalists can
write about technology to a consumer audience and have no technical background
whatsoever. What they are doing can be marginally considered technical writing.
However, journalists writing about technology to an engineering audience probably
should have a technical background and should be considered technical writers.

As a tech docs manager, I see hundreds of resumes a year from people who have no
technical background, but have a degree in fiction or literature. I also see
many resumes from people with comp sci degrees, but no formal writing
experience. Both groups miss the boat. A strong background in tech writing
theory and a strong technical background makes the perfect tech writer. And of
course experience....

Walden Miller
Technical Documentation Manager
Vidiom Systems
Boulder Colorado






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