RE: On degrees and the like...

Subject: RE: On degrees and the like...
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 11:52:29 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Giordano, Connie [mailto:Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 11:26 AM
> Subject: RE: On degrees and the like...
> Sorry Chuck--I just have to disagree with you on this and
> maybe many others
> on the list as well. I don't think any communications
> discipline belongs in
> the engineering school. And no matter what relative
> importance you place on
> tools, organization, research, writing, editing, layout, or
> analysis, it is
> a COMMUNICATIONS discipline first. That point seems to have
> been forgotten
> in the whole discussion of to degree or not degree.

I don't disagree that the "communication" part is important. But it's also
important not to short shrift the "technical" side of the discipline.

I just entered a bug for a product I'm documenting. I noticed that the
install program was copying mfc42.dll in the folder that contains the other
program files. Anyone know what's wrong with doing this? I do. It's a lazy,
user-unfriendly practice that violates Windows programming guidelines.
Anyone know what is _supposed_ to be done? I do (although I forgot the
specifics). Shared files go in the system folder. When programs that use
that shared file are installed, a Registry key is incremented. When programs
that use that shared file are uninstalled, the same Registry key is

I'll go further on the technical side. In the software (and hardware)
industry, good technical communicators know that the documentation is much
more than what gets put on paper or in a Help file. The entirety of the
interface, the placement or widgets, the widgets used, the flow of the
product, the menu items and labels, each of these is documentation. Knowing
how to design a product so it can be understood by users is but another
engineering aspect of the TC field. This area of the TC field tends to
overlap with both industrial engineering and psychology, another engineering
discipline and a science.

Just because a large number of people currently in the TC field came to it
from the arts/writing/communication side, it doesn't make TC any less an
engineering discipline.

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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Martin [mailto:CMartin -at- serena -dot- com]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 1:14 PM
> Subject: RE: On degrees and the like...
> <snip>
> I have a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication from
> my school, the
> University of Washington. It was issued by the School of
> Engineering. Here,
> TC is seen as an engineering discipline, which is as it should be.
> <snip>

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