Re: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program

Subject: Re: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 13:37:39 -0700


> I don't want to rekindle the "how techie? is ignorance an asset?"
> debate here, but I want to point out that these topics (and
> certifications like the MCSE) are NOT necessarily useful if you're
> writing end-user software documentation. .

I disagree strongly (there's no such thing as too much knowledge, so long as you
don't forget your audience's needs), but, like Christine, I don't want to start
this debate again.

However, Christine's comment does emphasize that the question of which skill is
most important is almost meaningless except in a specific context. If I think in
terms of what skills have got me a job, then my answers would a motley
collection: knowing FrameMaker, understanding basic design principles, being
available immediately, having an interest in non-Windows operating systems, and
keeping parrots are only the ones that come to mind. I can't see much of a
pattern here. Despite all the efforts to make it orderly, hiring continues to be
a hit-and-miss proposition in which personal preference, sheer exaustion, and
plain dumb luck play a larger role than anyone likes to admit.

When I think of what skills are needed on the job, my answer doesn't improve.
I'd like to think that writing and organizational skills are important, but I've
seen many people hold down jobs who were seriously lacking in these areas. The
same goes for background knowledge. Ads may want someone with a knowledge of C++
or of ATM broadband systems, but, in practice, companies usually settle for
less. I might suggest a willingness to learn, but that's not much help after;
after all, who wouldn't say that they were willing to learn in a job interview?
Not anyone with any experience who still wanted the job.

In the end, all I can really say is that the most important skill is whatever
the person hiring or doing performance reviews thinks is important. But that
sounds so cynical that it reminds me that it's time for my medication :-)

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"I said Get Real,
I never said Goodbye."
-Oysterband, "Native Son"

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Re: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program: From: CHRISTINE ANAMEIER

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