RE: Being an Expert (was:I'm taking my marbles and going home...)

Subject: RE: Being an Expert (was:I'm taking my marbles and going home...)
From: "Kight, Cindy K." <Cindy -dot- Kight -at- Gilbarco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 13:59:16 -0700

Tom Green writes:

<OK, I'll bite on this thread just one time. You don't necessarily have to
be a programmer or engineer to write quality manuals. That is why you have
several SMEs to review the content before the manual goes to print. The SMEs
decide what is accurate and what isn't. If I were a mechanical engineer I
would be a mechanical engineer. I think we (Tech Writers) are hired to
create professional manuals from the talent available in the company.>

I think there's a difference between being an expert in the subject matter
and an expert programmer or writer.

There are programmers/engineers - their expert skills include
designing/coding to accomplish certain tasks.

There are writers - their expert skills include researching, organizing
information, and writing.

And then are industry experts who understand the big picture of the overall
subject. Both writers and programmers can become industry experts.

Programmers/Engineers can tell you how it works. They can't always tell you
the significance behind how it works, or it's relevance to the customer's
use of the product.

So, no, you don't have to be programmer to write quality materials, but you
do have to become an expert in how your product works, why it was designed
that way, the business/personal need it addresses, and how the customer
users it. You can't always rely on programmers and engineers for this

I think we're basically in agreement - just saying it in different ways.

Cindy Kight
Technical Communications Manager
RMS Group - Gilbarco, Inc.
Glendale, CA

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