Re: Picking a new software skill

Subject: Re: Picking a new software skill
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 10:25:39 -0600 (MDT)

On Wed, 19 Sep 2001, Chris L wrote:
> I'm going to try to turn my unfortunate state of
> unemployment into a golden opportunity to learn a new
> skill. I have access to Adobe Photoshop software and
> some training CDs that accompany it. As tech writers,
> do you find this to be a prominent software in the
> profession? Also, do you think it's a good choice in
> which to invest my time?

I think that learning _any_ new skill is a good way
to spend your time. That said (and deliberately
ignoring the issue of what you _want_ to do, as I
can't speak to that), I don't think that PhotoShop
would be particularly high on any list of key skills
I'd compile.

For greater marketability and more challenging jobs
that offer greater opportunity, I'd point you to
learning (in some depth) about operating systems
(Windows 2000, Linux, or Unix) or getting some
programming/scripting experience (Java, PHP, C++, etc.),
or networking (TCP/IP), or database administration

I don't think that certification in any of those areas
is likely to be key, but it's VERY valuable to
be conversant with _some_ technologies that are
more central to possible jobs.

If I'm interviewing potential candidates, I'll be
most concerned with the technical interest and
aptitude they can demonstrate, and most impressed
if there's some depth. Picking a topic out of the
air, an interviewee who told me that she'd spent
two weeks of her "between jobs" time in figuring out
how to get a CD writer to work under Linux and
had finally succeeded in burning a CD would get
more "suitable technical initiative" points than
someone who spent two weeks learning Photoshop,
who would in turn get far more points than someone
who hadn't learned anything.

Of course, that is biased by the fact that I work in
a highly technical area, and that technical skills
are particularly valuable in most of the jobs I've
had--more so than skills like Photoshop.


Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com


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Picking a new software skill: From: Chris L

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