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I would say that what is actually happening is that a line is
being drawn (or maybe just becoming more obvious)
between "non-technical technical writers" and those with
more technical backgrounds.
For Chris' "English majors with a semester of work who
know how to use their computers" the "hire anyone who
can breathe and type at the same time" boom of the dotcom
days is gone, and they are indeed competing on a global
commodity basis with less expensive overseas writers,
many of whom may have English degrees *and* additional
study in technical areas equivalent to a 2 year US associates
degree, or even a technical degree from an American university.
OTOH, for writers with years of hands-on experience in
fields related to what needs to be written about, companies
that aren't willing or able to take the time to train English
majors (domestic or foreign) in complex technical areas
are still prefer to hire domestically, and often pay salaries
or contract rates that are as high as they ever were during
the height of the boom. They're just becoming more
selective in who they hire.
So perhaps when Chris says "technical writers must
change their role to be more inclusive," what he's really
saying is that those technical writers who haven't been
engaged in specifications development, design reviews,
product testing, project management, field and customer
support, process improvement, etc., need to expand their
skills and functions to catch up with those technical writers
who are already doing these things, and have been pretty
much since the Earth cooled.
> --- Chris Borokowski <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
>> I agree, and this is why I argue, repeatedly,
>> that technical writers must change their
>> role to be more inclusive or they will
>> become dinosaurs...
>> More needs to go into this job
>> or it will become a dinosaur.
> If I'm reading this correctly, there seems to be an
> idea implied here that the general perception of
> technical writing is becoming downgraded by a certain
> mass of tech writers not changing their roles, and
> that this downgrading of perception is making things
> more difficult even for those who have changed their
> roles (say, for example, when they move to new
> companies or get re-org'd).
> Have I got this right? I'm still at my first tech
> writing job (coming up on five years, and things keep
> getting better) so I don't have a clear idea of what
> it's like across the rest of the field.
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