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: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 10:43:23 -0500

Andrew Plato wrote:
<<Writers should take some formal training in the technologies they document.>>

It's also Andrew Plato that wrote (in another thread):
<<1995 is calling, they want their TECHWR-L topics back.>>

Do we really need another go round of this tired old topic? I think in the
umpteen times we've had this debate it always boils down to the same thing.
People violently agreeing with each other without understanding each other.

I think the fundamental misunderstanding is "the technologies they document".
Those that propose programming course are invariably documenting software
programming technologies at a code level where code knowledge IS of use to them.
However their endorsement of learning programming or database management is
taken badly by someone who does not recognise that the situation that the other
writer is in is different than their own. The other camp then takes the counter
point as an attack on their particular corner of the profession and refuses to
comprehend that not all technologies involve programming (also, let's face the
fact that the initial support of learning programming skills didn't leave any
room for interpretation either).

Even when documenting software, the LAST thing you may need to have is any
programming ability. If your documenting for end users, you need training in
what the end users do. Banking, finance, chem-pharma, medicine, biology,
forestry, video editing, heavy equipment operation, or any one of the thousands
of other technologies that we document. You need to know your audience and
become at least "one notch" more proficient and knowledgeable than you expect
them to be.

Arguing what to know or how much to know of it is pretty irrelevant to the list.
We know neither what the "technology" being documented is, who the audience is,
the current level of knowledge of the writer.

Take my case for example. I think the last time this debate happened someone in
no uncertain terms judged me a poor writer because I had no interest in learning
Java or some other programming language. Know what? I still don't. That
knowledge has absolutely no bearing on what I do as a writer. I have however
learned FrameScript. But, some of the nearsighted on the list might construe
that with learning tools and not technologies. But being able to condense the
production of 24,000 pages of printed docs from weeks to a couple of days is a
"tools" skill that makes me very valuable.

As for technology skills, I'm always interested in learning about fasteners,
high power electric control devices, hydraulics, pneumatics, railroad
operations, etc...

As for software? Looking to learn more about database design. But in my current
job that is not a technology. It's a tool.

Eric L. Dunn


LAST CHANCE for this steal of a deal! Purchase RoboHelp X3 by February 28
and receive $100 mail-in rebate and FREE WebHelp Merge Module ($339 value)!
RoboHelp, the Industry Standard in Help Authoring, has won over 55 industry
awards. For more information please visit:

"RoboHelp X3 is simply remarkable." - George Bell, Techno-Vision Systems

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Tip of the week
Next by Author: RE: Why JPGs for screen captures?
Previous by Thread: Re: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO
Next by Thread: Re: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads