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: "Moulton, Debbie" <Moulton -at- dow -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 13:47:39 -0500

I am normally a lurker, but have been suckered into responding at the risk of being flamed because you people just refuse to let this thread die. So, here's by 2 cents:

I personally have not written about "programming" nor do I proclaim to have programming experience. However, in a previous life I was hired as a learning and development analyst (the next best thing to being a technical writer IMHO) for the IT department of a large corporation. About a year later the IT Learning and Development team was merged under the HR umbrella into a company wide Learning and Development Team.

Thus, I was not only called upon to do documentation and training for IT but for the Finance Department, Knowledge Management Department .... etc. Obviously, In such a roll it would be impossible to become an expert in every topic on which I was required to write.

In one of the projects I was assigned to, I had to create an CBT module on Sales and Use Tax. Now as someone with an IT background, I knew next to nothing about Sales and Use Tax. However, I spent a few hours with two SMEs and took what documentation they had and rolled up my sleeves and dove in.

I found their documentation to be lacking and so I spent some time on my own researching through various resources including the internet. I scripted out the CBT, had them review the scripts, then developed the module and presented it for alpha testing.

The manager of the Finance department was so impressed that he actually offered me a job in his department. Of course I refused the job because quite frankly that's just not my bag.

The moral of the story is. I didn't have to go to school and take classes but I did put in the extra effort to become as familiar as I could with the subject. I used SMEs to alpha test the product and incorporated their input before releasing it to the users.

Debbie Moulton
Dow Process Automation
dmoulton -at- dow -dot- com


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