What's the learning curve for DITA/SGML?

Subject: What's the learning curve for DITA/SGML?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Techwriter List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "V. David" <apv -dot- david -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 13:30:46 -0400

V. David provided a few additional thoughts: <<About the recruiter -
she has stated that she is paid by salary. Is this possible? I really
thought they all get paid by commission.>>

I imagine that some recruiters work on salary for agencies that earn
their money from commissions paid by clients. Would that make sense

Forgot to mention in my previous message in this thread that the
advantage of _not_ working with an agency is that you're less likely
to be bound to a noncompete clause; that is, some agencies will
specifically prohibit you from working for a former contract client
because they want to be able to charge a commission on your future
services if that client wants you to work for them again. That may be
a significant concern. It would be for me.

<<Married, no kids, can afford one more year before starting a family.

That sounds awfully definite. <g> Kids really do make a big
difference in one's plans. My take on this is that you should have
'em while you're young, and still have a hope keeping up with them.
I've earned my grey hairs and sleep deprivation honestly. <g>

<<The recruiter has suggested I incorporate - the tax rates look
very appealing, compared to filing as a sole proprietor/contractor.
(Any thoughts on this, btw?)>>

It's much more complicated than tax rates alone, and even the tax
rate question isn't as straightforward as it might seem. For example,
the corporate tax rate may be better than the personal tax rate, but
what happens when you take money out of the corporation and into your
own hands? Always speak to a tax accountant familiar with the
specific idiosyncracies of your jurisdiction. Incorporation makes
very good sense for some, and really makes no sense at all for
others. (I'm in the latter category, but I'm in Canada... whole
different tax and liability issues.)

<<I'm devouring everything I can find about writing in DITA and most
of the information is conceptual and quite high level. I've searched
and read the archives and visited the suggested websites. Anyone
willing to share first-hand info on how they went through the
learning process?>>

Haven't gone through the process myself (it's not really relevant to
the work I do), but in my experience, the easiest way to move from
conceptual/high level to something more concrete is to actually try
creating a document using the relevant tools. (Other techwhirlers can
recommend what tools you should try using.)

If you're an STC member, or know someone how is, France Baril has
been running an excellent series of introductory columns in
_Intercom_ magazine that's worth looking up.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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What's the learning curve for DITA/SGML? Was: Job offers - need your opinion?: From: V. David

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