Re: This too is technical communication

Subject: Re: This too is technical communication
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2007 15:39:00 +0800

I completely agree with John.

There are many jobs that overlap to some extent with tech writing. The
more we know about these other jobs (such as QA, development, technical
illustration, indexing, usability) the better we can do our own. Our TW
skills would give us a head start if we should choose to move into one
of these other specialities, but that's all it is--a head start.

I'd hate to think a TW or developer or sysadmin would think they're
already qualified to do QA, purely based on the bug spotting they'd done
in the past. There's more to QA than that, just as there's more to
usability than reporting some UI confusion and inconsistency that you
happened to notice while documenting a procedure.

I'm all for TWs putting in the time to learn other disciplines. The
industry needs both usability specialists and "usability-aware" TWs. It
needs both QA specialists and QA-aware TWs. What isn't helpful is TWs
who think they're a QA or usability specialist because they happen to be
in an organisation that doesn't have specialists to do these things.

I hasten to add, I don't think Chris is advocating this line ("My TW
skills mean I'm naturally able to do QA, usability, etc."). Chris, I
think you're arguing for TWs to *make* themselves QA-aware and
usability-aware--it's just that we have to put in the time to develop
the awareness. It doesn't just happen.


Chris Borokowski said:
> You wouldn't want to slight those technical writers on this list who
> come from a development background and are comfortable in QA roles,
> would you? (Or those with backgrounds in system administration.)

John Posada said:
> My point is, if you are trained FOR it, knock yourself out...
> you have my respect and it's a skill I wish I had.
> My problem is those who find a misspelled word on a GUI once
> in a while and proclaim themselves QAers.

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