RE: Picking a new software skill

Subject: RE: Picking a new software skill
From: "Gilger.John" <JGilger -at- acresgaming -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 10:30:08 -0700

|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?
Eric J. Ray responded:
|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.

How about killing two birds with one stone and learn the GIMP?

John Gilger
Senior Technical Writer
Acres Gaming, Inc.


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