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I agree that you didn't call technical writers unprofessional, but I do
disagree with the concept that it's not a profession.
To do it well there is a specific body of knowledge, complemented by a huge
variety of areas of expertise:
Oral Communication skills
Written Communications skills
Design and visual arts
Training and User Support
Negotiation for Information
Others can probably think of many more. I tend to think of technical
writing as a subset of skills under a larger umbrella of "information design
and delivery". I spend about 20% of my time actually writing on technical
subjects. The rest goes towards observation and information extraction(
including industry and technical ), planning and analysis (audience, gap,
and business), design of the medium (and I mean any medium, each of which
has its own peculiar restraints, advantages and disadvantages), production
and delivery, feedback and evaluation, and design and content support for
other organizations functions.
Perhaps the BOK would be broader in scope such as an ID&DBOK.
From: Mark Baker [mailto:mbaker -at- ca -dot- stilo -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 4:01 PM
Subject: RE: Hostility towards STC
John Posada wrote
> STC could have done so much more to further the professional technical
> writer, resulting in less unemployment, higher wages, and greater
> professional respect by those outside of the field, ...even garage
> mechanics have a better professional organization (ASE)
> behind them.
I disagree. STC could not have been any more than it is unless technical
communication were in fact a profession.
Being a mechanic is a profession. It has an established body of knowledge
that is actually necessary for successful practice.
Technical communication is not a profession. It is an occupation. Any one
technical communication job may have very specific requirements for
particular technical knowledge, but the skills that are common to all
technical writers are the skills that every educated person should possess.
There is nothing to build a specific body of professional knowledge or
practice around, and therefore nothing for a professional organization to
do. Given this, STC could hardly be more than it is, a place where people in
the same occupation can get together to share tips and techniques and
commiserate with each other.
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