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

Subject: Re: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 12:52:43 -0600

From: "Dawson McKnight" <dawson_mcknight -at- hotmail -dot- com>

> > If you plan to write for the IT industry, I recommend
> > learning as much as you can about technical subjects
> > such as programming, networking, and databases.

> From: CHRISTINE ANAMEIER <CANAMEIE -at- email -dot- usps -dot- gov>

> 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 don't want to speak for Dawson here (but I will), by saying that
"learning as much as you can" doesn't necessarily mean getting a
degree or certification in the subject. I means learning as much as
you can so you have the knowledge to get the job done.

I have been writing s/w documentation for several years. Now why
in the world would I need to know about networking, TCP/IP
protocols, etc? Because I write help files & manuals about
software.... And because this software supports our datalogger
hardware... And because this datalogger hardware has a
communications device which allows you to contact it over a
TCP/IP network... And because if I can't at least have some sort of
working knowledge about how all these pieces fit together, my
documentation isn't going to be worth a wooden nickle.

As others have mentioned, be flexible. Be willing to learn what you
have to, to write good, technically accurate, USEFUL
documentation. Anyone can regurgitate. Good writers can sit down
with a product, learn how to use it, and write about it so others can
use it to. If not, YOU won't be worth a wooden nickle to your

From: TDean -at- envirosys -dot- com

> Now my face turned red and I was blistering mad that anyone would
> question my judgement over an administrative assistant's

Years ago, I was an administrative assistant. I am, partly, where I
am today because I DID have better judgment than the person who
thought because she had a degree she had all the answers. I did
have better ideas about how to justify text or choose a font for an
ad piece, and my employer recognized that.

From: "John David Hickey" <jdhickey -at- sympatico -dot- ca>

> have a thick skin (to be able to rise above the pettiness of some
> people),

And thanks, John, for your thoughts. As you alluded, another skill
is knowing when to stop...

Dana W.

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