Re: Buying software oneself in order to learn it

Subject: Re: Buying software oneself in order to learn it
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 13:58:22 -0800

Ellen Vanrenen wrote:

Is it customary for technical writers to buy software themselves to load on
their PCs in order to learn that particular software? I have bought RoboHelp
and FrameMaker, and I am thinking of buying Photoshop.
Or, do most technical writers find more clever and less costly ways to pick
up skills? If so, what are these ways?

Software is a professional tool, and counts as a business expense in Canada. I assume that it probably would in the United State and most industrial countries, so why not buy it? Having your own copy is very convenient.

If you don't want to pay full price, you can often find a way around. For example:

- Register for courses at an accredited institution. Then buy an academic version. Once you register, many companies make no distinction between academic and full versions, apparently reasoning that they'll make their money from you on upgrades. You'll get the software and learn something, too.

- Buy an old version. In many cases, you'll get almost all the functionality at less than a quarter of the price.
If you buy an old version with a license, legally transfer the license to your name, then pay for the upgrade, and you'll still come out ahead.

- Contact the company about a demo version. In some cases, you won't be able to save or print, but you'll be able to investigate the software.

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

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Buying software oneself in order to learn it: From: Ellen Vanrenen

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