New TECHWR-L Poll Question - Your TW Rating

Subject: New TECHWR-L Poll Question - Your TW Rating
From: "Damien Braniff" <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 08:42:49 +0100

I think that, in some ways, this ties in with the latest certification
thread :-)

Before answering I'd have to ask what's the 'marking criteria'? What am
I rating myself against? I'd say that, to be meaningful, you need to
compare like with like - I may be the world's best help writer but know
nothing about procedure writing, be a hardware genius but software's a
black box to me... being any of these doesn't make me a skilled writer
so what do I use?

For me it boils down to what I need to know to do my job well (in no
particular order!) - the ability to/knowledge of:

Understand complex information and make sense of it
Info gathering - Q'ing strategies etc
Curiosity - keen/quick to learn new things
Write clearly and concisely at a level appropriate to the reader
Rhetoric - goes with previous; explain the complex info to others!
Information design - layout, style etc
Graphic design - when to use images, where, which ones etc
Tools - the basics (Office, FM, etc) + ability to learn new as needed
Help design - how to design helps systems and implement them
Basic usability (ties in with 2nd item)
Basic 'science' - physics, programming, etc
Business - marketing, branding etc., know where TW fits in to it all
Trends - where TW is going, technologies, tools etc.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but includes (at least some!)
of the things that _I_ think makes a 'rounded' TWer. On top of that
there is the 'specialities' - particular skills that are unique to the
writer (be it industry, technologies etc).

I've been doing this for over 20 yrs now and I'm still learning. I'd
maybe say 5/6 on some, 8/9 on others but overall about 7/8 - leaves room
for improvement :-)

Damien Braniff | Technical Writer
damienb -at- asg -dot- com
Technical Communications
Waterfront Plaza
8, Lagan Bank Road,
Belfast, N. Ireland BT1 3LR
Tel: +44 (0) 28.9072.3124
Fax: +44 (0) 28.9072.3324
End-to-End Technology Management


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