how to get APIs into your portfolio?

Subject: how to get APIs into your portfolio?
From: Jonnie Pekelny <jonniep -at- peoplepc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 04:39:58 -0800

Hello, all. I'm delurking on this list, for a question that may prove quite important to my career. I've been a tech. writer for over ten years, but have recently been unemployed. In my background I've written all kinds of docs, including APIs, but, in the gay 90s, I never thought to keep APIs for my portfolio. Reasons? APIs are usually big bulky and boring books, written for very specialized audiences, difficult to display in small fragments and not necessarily the best medium for showing off a person's writing skills to a lay person -- IMO. So, I never bothered keeping them for my samples. Big mistake.

It's now become apparent to me that I need to get at least one API sample into my portfolio, since it's become increasingly difficult to find jobs without "proving" that I can write APIs. (The big secret is that APIs are actually some of the easiest books to write, since so many of them are basically reference volumes).

In the past, all the items in my portfolio have come from documentation I have written on the job, particularly the more technical samples. That's not an option right now. And I can't volunteer to take six months to write a programmer's guide from scratch for no pay. My question to you all is, do you have any strategies or suggestions for how to go about creating an API-type writing sample that shows that I can do that type of writing? I welcome all opinions!


Jonnie Pekelny

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