Re: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO

Subject: Re: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO
From: "Nutting, John" <JNutting -at- taylor-hobson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 07:52:15 -0000

Andrew Plato wrote:

"Writers should take some formal training in the
technologies they document. It will help them document those technologies
better. It will also teach them key concepts, terms, and methods that they
use to communicate with the SMEs more effectively."

We as writers have a duty to convey to the user in as succinct and easy to
understand way how that said user is to use the item being described.
Formal training in writing software or in any other subject is just so much
baggage to the writer that serves no real purpose than to inflate ego. The
key to the game is to get your hands dirty and use the darned thing. Put
yourself in the position of the user and use it. What happens behind the
facade is to be honest utterly irrelevant in almost all cases.

I have written about many different technologies including fuel handling
systems, baggage handling systems, radar systems, fire detection systems,
payroll and personnel systems, measuring instruments, etc many of which were
mainly software systems and to date I have stayed away from formal training
in each of the subject's technology. In each instance the requirement was
building a relationship with the SME based on a mutual respect for each
other's understanding of their subject. The SME needs to have confidence
that you know enough about the conveying of information to adequately
describe the use of their product to the end user and do it full justice.
In almost eighteen years of writing effectively I have never failed to build
a relationship with a SME based on mutual respect and I have done it without
learning their subject in an attempt to talk software to a software
developer, metrology to a metrologist or mechanics to a mechanical engineer.

My two farthings.


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