RE: What does it mean to be technical?

Subject: RE: What does it mean to be technical?
From: France Baril <Barilf -at- ixiasoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 11:20:50 -0400

Are you technical enough? Well it depends on your subject. I feel knowing
code is quite important when your job is to document APIs. How can you
document something that you would not be able to use. How do you find out
what's missing? If I am not able to develop an application using the API I
document, it means my documentation isn't complete, I am missing some
important information.

Moreover, how can you document code samples if you do not understand them?
Do you ask the developper to do it and then you chech for grammar mistakes?
How doyou know if it is complete enough? Do you trust the programmer who has
to focus on more important things (I mean more important as in to meet his
own deadlines).

It might also help to speak "programmer", as in knowing their vocabulary.

Is your documentation in "online" format? If so, you might need to know at
least html.

The same principles apply to other fields... if you document car mechnic, it
might prove useful to know the name of each part: "Now, screw the black
piece that is 2 cm long in the hole of the piece that is 45 cm from the
front end of the vehicule and 50 cm from the bottom of the car. You know the
one that is close to the light that flashes when the user needs to turn?"

-----Original Message-----
From: Goober Writer [mailto:gooberwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: 23 mai, 2003 10:53
Subject: What does it mean to be technical?

It seems like there's been a lot of discussion over
the years about what makes a true technical writer.
But really, what does it mean to be technical?

Does it mean you can assemble a PC from scratch?

Does it mean you can set up a home LAN?

Does it mean you can program in C#?

I say no, but all that *can* help.

But, being technical does mean you need to think
critically about technology. That's all that really
matters. Anything deeper is potential icing on the
cake, so to speak.

I don't need to know how to write in C# or even read
C# in order to be able to understand what the
application is intended to do. I mean, what is code,
really? Is it some cryptic form of expression that
takes strong intellect to comprehend?


It's a set of instructions designed to tell a set of
circuits to do something. That's it. Nothing more.

If you can think critically about technology, then you
are in fact technical.

One thing I hate is having someone say I'm not
technical enough. I always question them. Why aren't I
techical enough? What are you using to measure
"technical"? Usually a response is tossed back like
"you can't read code", to which I reply "should I have
to in order to understand what you are doing?"

The answer is "no".

Code is there to instruct a machine to solve a
problem. If I understand the problem and the route to
the solution, I'm good to go. If I can read code to
boot, well, I can read code too then.

Goober Writer
(because life is too short to be inept)


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