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In a time, long ago, when almost all technical writing was devoted to
the writing of maintenance manuals for military people, both technicians and
ordinary soldiers, employers often tended to require that the applicant be
already expert in the detailed military writing specification that was
relevant to current projects. Many applicants were indignant at that
requirement as being unrealistic and unfair, since, they held, the
experienced tech writer can usually work effectively and efficiently with
any specification that is available for ready reference. I happened to agree
with that. I saw no need for a competent tech writer to have advanced
knowledge of the spec.
Today, we have a somewhat analogous situation, with some employers
insisting on applicants for a tech writing position be experienced with
FrameMaker or some other specific software tool. Again, many applicants
believe that to be a most unfair requirement, since they believe that they
can quickly learn to use any but perhaps the most extremely specialized
I am not sure that the two situations are truly parallel, but I am most
interested in hearing the opinions of experienced tech writers. What say you
about the requirement to be already an expert in the software an employer
wishes you to use? - Herm
Sponsored by DigiPub Solutions Corp, producers of PDF 2001
Conference East, June 4-5, Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. http://www.pdfconference.com or toll-free 877/278-2131.
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