Re: Essential software/programming skills for TC?

Subject: Re: Essential software/programming skills for TC?
From: Craig Haiss <craighaiss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 06:19:55 -0800 (PST)

I would recommend learning HTML, XML/DITA, and CSS. These are essential for the publishing side of technical writing. No matter what technology you are documenting, chances are you will work with tools that require some knowledge of those languages.

If you are interested in developing enhanced functionality (dynamic content) for user assistance, consider JavaScript, ASP, and a bit of SQL. These will help you to build interactive user assistance and tap into server-side databases.

Unless you are working on API documentation, or doing double duty as a programmer/writer, serious programming languages are optional. Perl is useful for automating documentation processes (search and replace, etc.) on batches of documents. Python is easy to learn, and the principles apply to other languages, so it is a great starting language.

If you are really ambitious, you can dig into Java or C++. Most out-of-the-box software apps are developed in these languages. Web programming languages, such as ASP, are also great investments if you want to increase your market value. However, such an investment may only be of indirect value, since most technical writers don't write code for apps.

Good luck!

-Craig Haiss
Latest Post: "Technical writing career advice from 11 experts"

--- On Tue, 12/7/10, Phil <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com> wrote:

> From: Phil <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
> Subject: Essential software/programming skills for TC?
> To: "TECHWR-L list" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 6:44 AM
> While I accept that in some sense
> this 'unanswerable' being dependent on employers/industries,
> I would nevertheless appreciate opinions on the following:
> What are the essential software/programming skills a new
> tech communicatior MUST possess?


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