FW: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees

Subject: FW: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 13:22:43 -0800

I received the following in private reply to a piece of a post I wrote
yesterday. Naturally, I disagree. I also take offense; the response is of a
tone I have encountered from any number of developers and managers, that the
discipline of technical communication is nothing more than that of a
glorified secretary. This response, which I have encountered at many turns,
I think belittles all the training and experience I have garnered over the
years (in many more areas than just writing)--and continue to obtain (for
example, I'm taking a UNIX evening class this semester).

So I put it to the list (leaving the identity of the response's author
anonymous): are my feelings an overreaction? Do I see this field differently
that do others?

I should add that my response to those who display such attitudes is that I
do far more than "just" write. I have designed information systems for both
print and online, I've edited, been a product photographer, found and
reported bugs, designed and re-designed interfaces, been a user and
usability advocate, and more. My mentor at my first job after college
graduation (thanks Terry) once said that I have to toot my own horn, because
no one else will do it for me. I do a helluva lot more than write how-to
books and I'm damn proud of the talents and skills I've developed.

> Chuck Martinwrote
> > TC is an engineering discipline.
> Technical communication is not a discipline, it is a job title.
> It's just the title given to people who write how-to books
> for corporations.

Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper

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