Re: "not technical enough"

Subject: Re: "not technical enough"
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 23:16:05 -0700 (PDT)

Jane wrote...

> For those that I haven't, including one that they said they were extending
> an offer to me but they just changed their minds, I've often gotten the
> feedback that I "wasn't technical enough".
>
> In the context of technical writing as the job, what the hell does that
> mean?

Assuming you are applying for jobs in the computer or information technologies
industry, I would translate that as you don't know your IT technologies well
enough. It depends on the company and what they do, but I am talking about
software engineering, networking, database, or design technologies.

Writing skills are merely the beginning to tech writing. And knowing writing
tools, like FrameMaker and RoboHelp, does not complete the picture either.
Although many writers feel all they need are tools and writing skills, the
reality is that many organizations want writers with strong technical skills as
well. Most of my clients expect me to find writers who can intelligently
converse with engineers on complex software, database and network engineering
concepts.

For example, I have a client in the Bay Area who will not accept resumes from
tech writers unless they can read and interpret Java or C++ code.

After reading thousands of resumes, I've come to realize that most writers sell
themselves all wrong. They play up their writing skills or their knowledge of
FrameMaker. Honestly, many companies could care less about this stuff. Most
managers want to know if you can intelligently communicate technical concepts
and instructions to an audience. And knowing Frame or having written for many
years does not qualify a person to do this well. You have to be able to
intellectually make sense out of the stuff your documenting.

Andrew Plato

Kahn, you bloodsucker!: http://members.home.com/aplato

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