RE: The Wave of a TW's Future: (was RE: Tools & Technologies)

Subject: RE: The Wave of a TW's Future: (was RE: Tools & Technologies)
From: "McDonald, Guy A." <Guy -dot- A -dot- McDonald -at- conoco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 12:29:11 -0600

>I have seen a subtle trend growing in Internet job
postings seeking Administrative Assistants/Technical Writers. That gives me
concern about the future of our profession.

Pete Sanborn raises a very valid concern in my book. Prior to working in
software, I had a firm engineering background which made me marketable as a
trainer/writer for various industries. I made a good living as a tech writer
and documented diddly-squat to do with IT/IS. The point here is that they
paid me for my affinity to communicate complex technical concepts in a
simplified manner. It is fair to say that super-duper Administrative
assistants are not able to cut the mustard in that scenario.

My personal opinion is that there will always be a market for writers who
are "techies", if you will. However, writers who are unwilling to learn new
technologies, methodologies & languages will suffer. I've always thought
that the software writing group is at greatest risk in comparison to writers
who service other disciplines/industries. I *never* ran across a technical
writer who only had a Journalist or English degree. To a man/woman, a
writer/trainer had the engineering/technical experience and education needed
to get the job done. So obviously the software industry writer is blessed
since a non-techie can break into the biz without being some type of hybrid
engineer-writer.

So it makes sense to me that we should keep learning. It is better to have a
skill set that the average "tech writer" does not than the alternative of
working for low wages or cashing an unemployment check.

Guy McDonald
Information Development Manager
Technical Information Architects, Inc.
http://www.tiainfo.com

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