RE: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary

Subject: RE: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 12:56:43 -0400


I more or less agree with you.

You need some experience, knowledge, and understanding of your subject
matter as well as your audience. You also need to have some experience,
knowledge and understanding of how to organize and explain it all through

Just because someone understands the task fully does not mean that they know
how to explain it any more than knowing how to explain something doesn't
mean they understand it.

As a hiring manager, I look for both. If I were hiring for an automotive
company, I'd give equal credence to someone with subject matter experience
as well as writing experience. If someone had one and not the other, it
would make the decision tougher, but I'd lean toward hiring the writer for
one reason:

It's easier to teach the technical information to someone who can write than
it is to teach a technical person how to write.

My 2¢,


-----Original Message-----
From: John Posada [mailto:jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2002 10:47 AM
Subject: RE: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary

Hi, guys...I'd like to offer an observation...think of it as thought

I've been watching this thread on technical writer education and it
occurred to me that this could lead into a trap.

Getting a degree in TW is will make you feel very
comfortable. However, from an employer's perspective...what does it
do for THEM. The problem with being trained as a technical writer is
that you may know how to write, but you still cannot prove a
definable anything to write ABOUT.

Example, and this is an extreme case...if you were looking to hire
someone to write financial software documentation for an
entenprise-wide application, say SAP or JD Edwards, who would you
interview first...someone with a Masters in Writing or someone who is
a CPA with a couple of weekend writing certificates from the local
comm college?

I'd like to make a suggestion...look around your geographical area.
Every area has a concentration of type of industry. If you are in
Detroit, it is automotive. Conn is insurance, SCal and WashState is
defense, NY is financial, NJ is telecom and pharm, middle America is
heavy machinery (Cat, Deere, etc) you get the point.

Then, get training in that field. Learn how to write about things
that are important to them. Print out every job position advert you
see from your geographic's industry concentration and highlight the
industry skills they are looking for...add them up by type, then get
that skill.

If your area is Detroit/Automotive, wouldn't an associate degree in
mechanical engineering open some doors?

I think employers have gotten past the idea that to be a writer, you
must be trained as a many adverts have the primary
requirement of a techcom degree versus asking for specific industry
skill. After all, how many highly trained and degreed telecom
techwriters are out of work while much less qualified and cheaper
wannabees who know frame relay are in their place. It is because the
writer is better at writing? Isn't that what a techcom degree does?
Teach how to write better?

This is the direction I'm looking to.


John Posada, Senior Technical Writer
--- Deep Thought

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