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

Subject: Re: tool nonsense (gearing up to be a tech writer)
From: Glen Warner <gdwarner -at- ricochet -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2001 07:59:31 -0700

bryan -dot- westbrook -at- amd -dot- com wrote:


> If the people who are always whining about job adds asking for skill
they do
> not have would put the same effort into actually learning those
skills (and
> I'm talking mainly about the industry basics here like Frame and
> they would greatly increase their marketability.

Here (Seattle, WA), there were no classes in FrameMaker until recently
-- unless you count the intensive ones that cost an arm and a leg, of
course. Now there are two: one teaches the basics, the other is
geared towards tech writers. You can tell this from the name of the
class: "FrameMaker for Technical Writers."

As for RoboHelp, the folks at DesignDocs ( offer
one -- for $600 or so. Out of my range right now.

On the plus side, the local schools do provide training in HTML Help
now -- using Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop as the HAT. Better than
the WinHelp class available the year before ... and implemented
because (I think) I made a strong suggestion to do so.

> BTW, there is a Dummies book for Frame and a "Teach Yourself in 24
> book for RoboHelp that each come with trial software to practice on
> expense is not really a factor. If you are not willing to spend
> $50-60 on your career, you're probably not serious enough about it
in the
> first place.

Sure, you could use the Dummies books ... but what do you put on your
resume? And, no matter *what* you put on your resume, if the
interviewer asks you where you learned FrameMaker and you say "From
'FrameMaker for Dummies!'", the next question will probably be "Have
you ever used it on the job before?", shortly after which you'll hear
"We'll call you."

Don't wait too long by the phone.

> I once blew a job interview because I couldn't tell the interviewer
> "inheritance" means in C++. I had been studying the language for a
> time by then, and would not get to that part until a few days later.
> cursed my bad timing but continued with my studies. The next time
> asked, I knew the answer. BTW, that first company recently laid off
30% of
> its staff so I don't feel like I missed out on anything.



"Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your software."
--first draft of the User's Manual for an unnamed operating system,
written by a newly unemployed tech writer


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