Re: Do TWs need to be formally educated in engineering and science? was, RE: old school

Subject: Re: Do TWs need to be formally educated in engineering and science? was, RE: old school
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 10:26:45 -0700

I think you misundersood the points I was trying to make:

1. You don't come out of school (any major) knowing
everything you need to know to be an effective
technical writer (or engineer, programmer or most
anything else, for that matter).

2. Some education backgrounds are definitely more
advantageous than others for someone preparing
for a future as a technical writer, but actual OTJ
experience and demonstrated accomplishments
trump education and training every time.

No particular background is "essential" for a tech writer
who has a long record of accomplishments and a stack
of great references; for a wanna-be, it's another story.

My comment about "learning new things" is based on
my own experience managing writers of different
backgrounds. I've found that writers with technical
backgrounds seem better able to handle the idea that
something they've been doing for years has passed
into the mists of antiquity. Query a group of writers
who have been going at each other for hours over
some arcane point of grammar, and very seldom
will you find a tech person among them; the techies
tend to run for cover whenever these types of writer
food fights get started, and just want to know when
it's all over and the styleguide has been updated so
they can get on with their work.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message -----
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>


> Al's comments bring to mind what appears to be a contradiction in an
> important claim asserted by another list contributor. I hope he'll
> correct me if I misunderstood his point, but I understood Gene Kim-Eng
> to state, forcefully, that it will go poorly with technical writers of
> the near future who lack an education in engineering or one of the
> sciences.

> So I wonder, how can someone say, on one hand, that what one learns in
> college as a student of engineering or science is irrelevant within a
> relatively short time after graduation, and on the other hand, that an
> education in engineering or the sciences is essential--for a technical
> writer?

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: RE: old school: From: quills
Re: RE: old school: From: John Hedtke
RE: RE: old school: From: Al Geist
RE: RE: old school: From: John Hedtke
Re: old school: From: Beth Agnew
Re: old school: From: Chris Morton
RE: old school: From: AL Geist
Do TWs need to be formally educated in engineering and science? was, RE: old school: From: Leonard C. Porrello

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