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What say you about the requirement to be already an expert in the software
an employer wishes you to use? - Herm
I started as a writer only knowing Word Perfect. When I got a job where the
people used Word as their tool I initially resisted the change. Ultimately,
I ended up teaching myself Word. I became extremely proficient in Word and
was called a "guru" by my co-workers.
As time went on, I applied for a job that required the use of FrameMaker. I
thought they were crazy. Word was so great (please no flames!), why use
something else? But they were using Windows and UNIX, so Frame it became. I
taught myself what I needed to know to use the files. But I also convinced
them to reformat their manuals to Word and then use HTML to put their
manuals online (which is what they wanted to do). And so it went...
Next job had the requirement for Frame. I had already put FrameMaker on my
resume as a tool I was experienced with. But let's face it, I was not all
that familiar with it (I did not even know what a template was), but it was
on the resume because it was in my experience.
I got the job and immediately set to learn whatever I needed to know about
Frame. (I bought Classroom in a book and went through most of it.) My
manager never knew that I did not really "know" Frame when I started (please
don't flame me for being a "lier." I never said during the interview that I
was proficient in Frame. I only said "yes, I have used FrameMaker to work
with documentation." NOT a lie.
All this comes down to the fact that I think, if you are good at learning
new software applications, you don't NEED to have the specific tool
experience. However, if you don't and you get the job, it is your
responsibility to learn the application, and you have to do the learning on
your own time (not fair to expend the employer's dollars unless they want
to pay you while you learn.)
As writers, we tend to focus on improving our writing skills so that the
documentation we do produce is of excellent quality. Knowing one tool or
another doesnt' mean we are not good writers.
Just my $.02
Kathi Jan DeGuzman
Senior Technical Writer
Kathi -dot- Deguzman -at- nextel -dot- com <mailto:Kathi -dot- Deguzman -at- nextel -dot- com>
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged
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