Re: I'm taking my marbles and going home...

Subject: Re: I'm taking my marbles and going home...
From: "Paul Strasser" <paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 09:35:19 -0600


Letroured wrote, quoting me and responding to my response (these
quote/response things get tricky):

> >>>>>To write about Ford cars, do I have to be a mechanical engineer? Can
I
> >be a Chevy mechanical engineer, or must I be Ford-only? Can I be an
> >ASE-certified mechanic, instead?
>
> >To write about software, must I be a programmer? To write about software
used
> >by engineers, must I be a programmer and an engineer? If that software is
> >used on a Windows XP network, must I also be a
> >Microsoft-certified XP administrator?<<<<

To which I responded (but only in part, Letoured choosing to excise a
critical statement in my post):

> >You don't have to have a background in electronics to write about
> >electronics. But it can't hurt, that's for sure. I see no problem with
an
> >employer wanting tech writers who possess some knowledge of the topics
> >they'll write about. An AA is most likely - to this employer - the
minimum
> >standard to show some expertise in the subject. A BS or Masters degree
> >wasn't required, only an AA.
>
> >So to answer the litany of questions above: No - you don't have to be a
> >programmer/mechanical engineer/network adminstrator to write effectively
> >about these subjects.

Then he responded, with his usual grace:

> Actually the answer is yes -- in some jobs you do need to be an expert and
> have a good deal of hands-on expereince -- for many very good reasons. Do
you
> want examples? Tell me your expereince so I know where to start.
>

Letroured should have quoted the rest of the paragraph. I continued:

"But a person with a background in these subjects will
certainly have an easier time grappling with Ohm's law than someone who
needs to Google every acronym or arcane term used by the SMEs. The employer
is likely thinking of the learning curve, and there is nothing wrong with
that."

Of course there are some TW jobs that require formidable expertise. The
above example, the inclusion of an AA in electronics as a job condition,
clearly isn't an example of a job requiring an expert.

I even say this in my post.

"An AA is most likely - to this employer - the minimum
standard to show some expertise in the subject. A BS or Masters degree
wasn't required, only an AA."

"Minimum standard." Not expert. Clearly I was discussing this example, and
not those that - like I suggest - require a more impressive background in
the subject matter.

Letoured, what gets me is that in another posting, which showed up just
minutes after you posted a response to me, you comment on the following
statement:

>Technical Writers don't need to =be= experts, they just need =access= to
>experts.

To which you respond:

"In some industries that is true. In others, the writer is hired because he
is
an expert."

That was precisely the point of my comments.

You finish with:

"Tell me your expereince so I know where to start."

Thank you, no.

Paul Strasser
Windsor Technologies, Inc.
2569 Park Lane, Suite 200
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Phone: 303-926-1982
FAX: 303-926-1510
E-mail: paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com





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References:
Re: I'm taking my marbles and going home...: From: letoured

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