Re: Learning to code on the cheap

Subject: Re: Learning to code on the cheap
From: "Gururaj B S" <gururaj_bs -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 21:13:53 +0530

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Casemier" <karen -dot- casemier -at- provia -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 10:48 PM
Subject: Learning to code on the cheap

> To make a long story short, I'm getting involved with more under-the-hood
> type of documentation at my company (software). I'm currently working on a
> System Architecture guide, and now realize there are several other manuals
> that could use some more technical detail as well. Some of these documents
> are for internal use only, so they are specifically geared to a developer
> audience, while others are geared at a system admin-type user audience.

It's quite common! The key to success is our eagerness to learn and a
positive mindset. You know, when you designate yourself as a technical
writer or communicator, the position/job demands you to write any genre of
technical writing. It is, of course, paramount to the success of the overall
project. Let's not confine ourselves to a certain type of documentation or
catering to a particular audience's needs.

> I've been doing a pretty decent job of using some source material written
> the developers, using my knowledge of the database, and reading the code.
> I've been doing such a passable job that one of my managers has joked
> having me start coding. However, I don't feel the same way. I'm having to
> rely too much on the developers - a lot of the time, I'm better off just
> scrapping their source documents completely and starting from scratch. I'm
> the type of person who hates a lot of dependencies on a project. I have no
> problem going to the developers (or any SME) with specific questions, but
> don't want to rely on them to actually write the material. That's my job.
> And this is the first time I've not been able to just figure it out on my
> own.

Things will definitely change..Try to minimize this dependency on others;
know what the elementary aspects of the software or code are. See what part
of the code is relevant to your documentation. To be very honest, coding is
FUN. If you are not a programming nerd, try to focus on the basic concepts
like declaring variables, IO, header files, data types, data structures,
functions. A step-by-step approach would definitely help. Remember this
golden rule..Nothing is impossible! It's all in your hands..nope, not the
code:)- the path to success. is an excellent source of
information, specifically intended for developers (both naive and expert).

> I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
> knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient. I would do a google
> but I'm not quite sure where to start: do I start by trying to build a
> general understanding of programming, or do I just jump and try and learn
> language (currently I'm working in C++, but that will be changing - and
> other products are written in other languages). I'd like to hear from
> technical writers who work at this level about how they gained the
> they needed. Online resources, books, specific training - whatever. Cheap
> free is best, but if there is a great course out there that can really get
> me well started, I might be able to get it approved.
You said it! Most of the times, we choose to learn only when we realize the
need to learn. I think it happens this way - learn - unlearn. To accommodate
something new, we might have to empty our memory cans! This what I mean by
unlearn. Learning too many things might lead to coagulation cascade!!!

> And this is not a thread about technical vs. non-technical writers. I feel
> this is a skill I did not need for my past projects, but I do need it
now -
> and it could lead to some other exciting projects.
Okay! All the very best..


> Karen Casemier


sourcing tool for FrameMaker that lets you easily publish your content
online. No macro language required!

Mercer University's online MS Program in Technical Communication Management:
Preparing leaders of tomorrow's technical communication organizations today.
See or write George Hayhoe at hayhoe_g -at- mercer -dot- edu -dot-

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.


Learning to code on the cheap: From: Karen Casemier

Previous by Author: Re: Limiting postings -- looking at numbers
Next by Author: Re: Learning to code on the cheap
Previous by Thread: RE: Learning to code on the cheap
Next by Thread: Re: Learning to code on the cheap

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

Sponsored Ads