RE: Tools versus skill set

Subject: RE: Tools versus skill set
From: "Pinkham, Jim" <Jim -dot- Pinkham -at- voith -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 09:20:47 -0500

And for some further perspective, see the bluntly titled "Ten Stupid
Hiring Mistakes" at http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/hatenmistakes1.htm.
See Mistake No. 1. I especially like this quote: "People are thinking
and problem-solving machines. They see, they analyze, they learn and
they marshal their skills, abilities and knowledge to tackle and do a
job. This is what you're paying for when you hire a good worker: his
abilities, not his specific knowledge of a technique or a tool. Almost
by definition, a good worker can learn to use any tool you hand him, and
he might even introduce a few tools you were unaware existed. When a
person lacks some specific skills, a little guidance and a stack of
manuals go a long way."

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Chris Despopoulos
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 6:47 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Tools versus skill set

Advice for your friend...

Assuming your other skills are sufficient to land an interview, then you
can start to address the situation. I will say, if the job posting is
for an *expert* in tool X, then you're probably applying for the wrong
position. Tool experts are usually there to rev up the tool beyond what
the normal user can do. They're hired at least in part for their
specialized knowledge of the tool.

A lower level of tools requirements is just exposure to the tool. Given
that level, if it's a tools issue for tech writers, it's probably one
of:
* FrameMaker
Find somebody who has experience with it. The main problem here is the
concern
that a newcomer will screw up documents by deleting markers or not
using the
templates correctly. Get a few personal tutorials, and make sure you
understand
the things that can go wrong and how to avoid them. Then when you're
in the interview
you can at least say, "I know how to take care of your files. And I'll
be productive
in no time."
* Word
Heck, I'm a slug with Word. But everybody has *some* experience with
Word. Either
that, or you have serious computer-skills issues to overcome in this
situation. Exposure to
Word is essentially a computer literacy litmus test.
* XML system X (ArborText, most likely)
You won't have a chance to get your hands on a complete system in time
for an
interview. But you can certainly read up on XML to understand what
it's all about.
Dive in and at least learn the talk. Again, that means you understand
why they
have the system, and how to keep from screwing it up. Any installation
will be somewhat
vertical anyway, so exact experience is highly unlikely. Talk about
your experience with
version control systems -- as a QA person, you probably have touched
code and dev
environments. That's germane.
* Version Control
If you have QA experience, you probably have experience with this.

All the gloomy messages you got may be true. But your friend's
experience may be sufficient to overcome that. You have to assume it is
until you hear otherwise.

Good luck!




^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual authors
and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write once, publish
to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!
http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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References:
Re: Tools versus skill set: From: Chris Despopoulos

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