Re: What does it mean to be technical?

Subject: Re: What does it mean to be technical?
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 10:31:29 -0700 (PDT)

"Michael West" <mbwest -at- removebigpond -dot- net -dot- au> wrote in message
news:199505 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

> I can and do expect experienced technical writers to
> learn new technical subjects quickly. And they ususally do.
> I suspect that your idea of what "technical" refers to
> differs from mine. For example, if I need to produce
> training materials for mail sorter operators, I do not
> need to hire a tech writer who is a mail sorter operater.
> I *do* need to hire a tech writer who is smart and who
> is quick to learn new skills and absorb new information.

Well, maybe you would be comfortable with a person who merely said "Oh yeah,
I'm a fast learner" in an interview. I demand proof. I need to see a solid
foundation of technical skills.

I think most employers are moving this direction as well. They want to see more
than just the "I'm a team player and a fast learner" promise from job
applicants. Industry knowledge is critical these days.

> I can't tell whether your point is about
> what "anybody can do" or whether it is
> about what can be learned "quickly" because
> between the first sentence of your paragraph
> and the last sentence, you change the subject.
> What "anybody can do" is not the same thing as
> what can be done "quickly".

Some skills are more easily obtained than others. Learning to use FrameMaker or
PhotoShop are relatively easily obtained skills. There is a class offered
everyday for these tools.

In contrast, learning how mail sorters work (your example) or general critical
analysis skills are considerably more difficult to obtain. Highly specialized
skills (like mail sorters) must come from industry experience. And solid
analysis skills must come from a deep well of knowledge and experience, often
with a great deal of specialized knowledge intermixed with a strong foundation
of basic concepts.

Things that are rarer, are more valuable. Technical skills and (good) critical
analysis are more rare - thus they are more valuable. FrameMaker skills and
general writing skills are more common - thus they are less valuable.

Andrew Plato

Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.


Robohelp X3, from eHelp, lets you quickly and easily create
professional Help systems for all your Windows and Web-based
applications, including Net.

Order RoboHelp X3 in May and receive a $100 mail-in rebate, PLUS
free RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module.

Order RoboHelp today:

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: system administrators and documentation
Next by Author: You're SUPPOSED to have good communication skills if you're a tech writer
Previous by Thread: Re: What does it mean to be technical?
Next by Thread: Re: What does it mean to be technical?

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

Sponsored Ads