Re: SQL for writers?

Subject: Re: SQL for writers?
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- qwest -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 16:21:52 -0700

Dannette and Michael have brought up some very valid points about the
value of SQL. Opportunities? I would recommend learning it if you have
anything to do with databases. Also, it's very helpful if you work with
business applications like Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel, etc. There are
also the reporting tool and data mining industries. You could write user
guides, or on the technical end, you could document stored procedures
and applications. It'd certainly help if you were documenting software
from code or specs and your developers were writing database calls. I'm
sure there are other ways it comes in handy.

I became SQL literate by accident: I wrote a manual for a reporting
application, then I had to maintain a training database and had to know
how to tell the DBAs what data to update for me. Then I had to update
the reporting manual for a new software release and discovered how much
more I knew and how badly I had explained things the first time! Next
contract, a simple ISQL manual for marketing explaining different kinds
of functions and how to write useful queries. I was the only writer out
of about 12 who was even interested in the project, much less having the
knowledge to do it. That skill led directly to my current job, where I'm
documenting a data-driven marketing software. If I hadn't known what I
did, I wouldn't have gotten the job.

SQL helps me talk to developers. It helps me understand what the
software is doing. I have geeky knowledge so I fit into the club. When
I'm QA-ing software, it helps because I can better explain what I was

For background, I think you probably just need to be interested in
databases or database applications. I certainly didn't have any special
knowledge going in. To be any good, of course, I would recommend you
learn it thoroughly. I still don't know it as well as I should. Can't
recommend any books or sources because I've learned it by accident.
Maybe one of these days I'll have time to read a book and play with it

Lisa Wright
Technical Writer
PeakEffects, Inc.

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