SUMMARY: Specialize or Die

Subject: SUMMARY: Specialize or Die
From: "Edwin Wurster" <eawurster -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 15:34:17 -0500

Thank you for your participation.

Ed asked how tech writers would answer the following question in an interview:

Q: Do you have a specialty within tech writing that you prefer?

Ted Rainey:
I have to say, overall, I enjoy working with Unix and creating documentation for the Unix versions of the software much more than working with the Windows side.

Steven Brown:
I've also had a life-long interest in construction
equipment, so my dream job is to work for Caterpillar,
writing product manuals and training material for
bulldozers, excavators, etc.

Karen Bush:
My response to the question re specialty preference within tech writing would be instructional design, content manager.

Bruce Byfield:
Yes. Being a generalist.
Being a specialist might land you one particular job, but if the job
disappears or the specialty falls out of demand, you could be out of
luck. The best you could do is find another specialty as quickly as
possible. By contrast, a generalist can cope much better with a changing situation.

Margaret Cekis:
Given a choice of opportunities, I tend to pick the one with the most
interesting technology or something novel about it. I couldn't face a
permanent position where every year I was required to update the same set of inventory program manuals.

Martha Jane:
My answer is a definite Yes. I much prefer documenting complex
software-development tools and methodologies for developers.

Earl Cooley:
I prefer to specialize in technical writing that involves the
use of the English language.

Linnea Dodson:
I tell people I'm a "professional end user." I'm happiest when doing user guides and doing things to software that engineers think nobody would ever do to it.

Elna Tymes:
My firm specializes in several things:
1. Getting projects done on time and on budget.
2. Keeping our agreements. Period.
3. Coming up to speed quickly and being flexible.
4. Staying abreast of latest technology, especially in telecommunications, security, databases, and presentation of information.

Andrew Plato:

Ed Wurster:
I prefer working on end user documentation as part of the development team. Although this costs a business more than coming in late and "mopping up," it tells me that a manager is aware of how poor or inadequate documentation affects future support costs.

Edwin A. Wurster
17 Hollybrook Way | Voorhees, NJ 08043
Consulting, Programming and Maintenance
for PC & Mac Systems/Network
Training, Technical Writing and Web Design for Small Business

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