RE: gearing up to be a tech writer

Subject: RE: gearing up to be a tech writer
From: "Michael Simoni" <msimoni -at- cmotor -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 09:02:10 -0700

Welcome future neighbor-I myself am Sonoma County native. You asked for
advice, what follows are my opinions.

-Certification does not mean much unless you're looking for some sort of
Network/IS Admin work.

-Software such Framemaker and Visio are just tools. For a contractor, it
seems best to have a familiarity with a variety of tools. The demands of
each contract are different.

-Framemaker has its followers. I have never used it, but if you can get it
at the student discount do so. If you plan on contracting, for no other
reason, it would be worth having in your stable of skills and tools. Whether
you like the software or not it, it may help you get a contract.

-Visio Pro is a has some great features, but I wouldn't put it high on my

-Acrobat 5 you didn't mention, but would be an excellent purchase.

-If you can read code, great. You can pickup a Dummy's/Idiot's type book
about the specific language. You mentioned VB/VBA/VBScript, and XML. My
impression is that Visual Basic is gaining ground, but C++ is the language
most widely used. And VBA will make you life easier when working with Word,
Excel, etc. As for XML, it's a big buzz word.

-Yea, there are a number of telecom companies here, but this last month has
brought massive change to the employment sector. Cisco, Alcatel, and OCLI
(Optical Coating) have had big layoffs-including many tech writers. Agilent
(formerly HP)has had pay reductions in place of layoffs. And many smaller
startups are going through layoffs or hiring freezes. Maybe that means it is
a good time for contractors here, I don't know.

-And a final word of warning, housing is extremely expensive and the market
is tight in the entire bay area. If you are seriously looking to telecomute,
I would consider moving elsewhere. There is a mass exodus of folks,
regardless of marital status, moving elsewhere because it's too expensive to
rent let alone buy. I'm not trying to scare you off, it's a beautiful area.

If you have any other questions pertaining to the area, contact me off list.
Otherwise, contact me when you move to the area.

Michael Simoni


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gearing up to be a tech writer: From: Jonathan Kajeckas

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