Re: Could you possibly be a chimp? (was: Are you a writer?)

Subject: Re: Could you possibly be a chimp? (was: Are you a writer?)
From: "Rob Writer" <piercedroo -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 10:34:13 -0600

People. Relax. You're all right. Just not about the same things.

If all you are writing is GUI User Guides, Installation Manuals (which only require a walk-through of the Install Wizard, System Requirements, and How To Configure a few files), Policy/Procedure Manuals, or Product Overviews....then NO...a resounding do not need to be an SME. Heck, the 'ol "1000 chimps with a 1000 typewriters" rules probably holds true for these types of documents.

But if you are writing API reference guides, you better have a very high level of knowledge of the programming langague. Writing a Network Integration Guide, where the customer must develop their own interface to your product using an API? You better understand networking concepts AND the programming language better than the customer's network admin.

If you are writing documents that others will use to do their very technical jobs (developers, DBAs, systems integrators, etc), then you better know at least as much about how to do their job as they do.

There are a heap of writers out here who not only understand OOP concepts, but who can write code too. Some of us out even know how to use and write SQL statements in addition to our "high-level" understanding of relational database concepts.

Do I have to be an expert on assembling Boeing aircraft to write a Developer's Guide for configuration software that is used to properly assemble an aircraft that has more than a million configurations? No. But I do have to understand the modeling language. No, wait. I have to KNOW the modeling language.

And when push comes to shove, people with truly technical skills will get the jobs, and get paid more to do them.

But hey, companies need people to doc their GUIs too. I understand.

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