Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)

Subject: Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: Jeff Hanvey <techwriter -at- jewahe -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 08:57:12 -0700 (PDT)

All of you who claim that tools aren't important obviously haven't been in the job market recently. It's rare that I don't see an add that states some piece of software - everything from Crystal Reports to FrameMaker to Visio - as a requirement.

I am not saying that tools are by their very nature a magic talisman that will automatically land someone a job. But they are a point of measurement. Companies don't want to hire someone who they have to train in their software of choice, unless it is a specialty piece.

Unfortunately, technical writers are pretty much expected to be able to move among their tools rather easily.

There may be a regional thing at work in this debate, as well. Here in Memphis - and, from what I've seen, most of Tennessee and Georgia - knowledge of tools isn't a "plus": it's a requirement! That may be because there don't seem to be that many entry-level positions in these areas - or, if they are entry-level, they aren't advertised as such.

I haven't checked in the last couple of months, but as recently as January, all the jobs ads required 2-3 years of "real" experience AND FrameMaker, Robohelp, or some other explicit tool.

Now, this is different that someone who refuses to use any other piece of software than his/her personal choice.

I will always contend that knowing your tools is as important to the job as knowing your job. If you can't master the proper tools, you can't do the job. Craft, again, is using tools to apply your knowledge.

This is why I always tell the beginning technical writer to get to know the job market in his/her area. This will tell him/her

1. What skills s/he needs. Does the area need mostly software writers? Hardware writers? Engineering writers? Policy and procedure writers?

2. What tools are common to the area's industry.

Taking the time to find out these things will make you marketable in your area.

Jeff Hanvey:


*** Deva(tm) Tools for Dreamweaver and Deva(tm) Search ***
Build Contents, Indexes, and Search for Web Sites and Help Systems
Available now at or info -at- devahelp -dot- com

Sponsored by Information Mapping, Inc., a professional services firm
specializing in Knowledge Management and e-content solutions. See or 800-463-6627 for more about our solutions.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
Next by Author: RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
Previous by Thread: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
Next by Thread: RE: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads