RE: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions

Subject: RE: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions
From: "Robart, Kay" <Kay -dot- Robart -at- tea -dot- texas -dot- gov>
To: 'Craig Lashley' <clashley -at- mail -dot- usf -dot- edu>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:26:56 +0000

I don't know if I agree with Victoria, exactly. If I was going to hire someone with lots of experience in different tools, I wouldn't worry if they didn't know FrameMaker, because I would assume they could learn it easily. However, I have been in the unfortunate position of having to fire an employee who couldn't seem to learn to use the tool (after a year at work). He came in with very little computer experience, just writing experience (this was quite a few years ago, understand, but even as recently as five years ago I spent a lot of time trying to help a writer with lots of work experience learn FrameMaker, and she had a tough time and never quite mastered it). So, I would say that if I'm hiring a new graduate with very little actual experience, it would help a lot if that person had experience with the tool. But you can't count on everyone who is hiring using FrameMaker, and for your first job, you may not be able to be very choosy about who is going to hire you. Being knowledgeable about HTML, though, should help a lot, as it is a program that is used almost everywhere.

You can learn about styles and the concepts Victoria pointed out by working in Word on any PC, and that will also help. I don't think I've encountered a writer who didn't use styles in a long time, but I have spent many an unnecessary hour cleaning up documents that nonwriters wrote without them.

If you have used a bunch of different computer programs and don't have much difficulty learning new ones, then that's a point that you can present in an interview or on your Linked In page or wherever, and that will help.

You definitely need samples. If you don't have anything from school that's suitable, you should try to find writing work, even if it's free for a charity, that would produce something you can show. Designing and writing material for a web page, for example, even writing your own blog, although it would be good if it was something technical.

Kay

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+kay -dot- robart=tea -dot- texas -dot- gov -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kay -dot- robart=tea -dot- texas -dot- gov -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Wroblewski, Victoria
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2015 1:08 PM
To: 'Craig Lashley'; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions

Don't focus on tools, focus on concepts. From the more "writer" side, it is more important to understand the usage of paragraph styles, character styles, master pages, variables, etc., than know any tool that uses those. Learn while in-line styles should be avoided. Those are the bigger concepts, after that any software is just a new tool you need to learn how to use.

Picking up programming skills is never a bad thing, in addition to HTML learn some CSS, it is becoming more common to have to debug in those areas even from what your tools may output.

I've been involved in hiring decisions in the past, and not knowing Framemaker was not a deal breaker as long as I thought someone had a good understanding of the concepts of how any document should be designed from the tool standpoint. Heck, my knowledge of how to "do it right" got me hired somewhere using a tool I'd never even heard of (is Corel Ventura still even around??).

- V

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Lashley
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2015 6:20 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions

Hello,

I am currently in school for Technical Communication and will be graduating next Spring. I've been trying to determine what types of software would be best to purchase while I can still get a student discount. I saw a post about Adobe Tech Comm Suite a few days ago. I also see Frame Maker and Dita a lot white doing tech comm searches. Are these worth buying as an individual? I've been told several times to learn HTML. I have a basic understanding for coding such as Java and C++. Is there a legit way to get certified HTML to show a future employer? I've done many walk through tutorials on Youtube, and have a basic concept and understanding of HTML. I feel for a future job having some sort of tangible documentation proving that would benefit me. Are there other certifications outside of a college degree I should look into? There appears to be a large amount of webpages saying they offer certificates, but which ones actually carry weight? I am working on determining what I could
be doing outside of going to class to help me really have an upper hand as far as employment in technical writing.

Thanks,

Craig
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Learn more about Adobe Technical Communication Suite (2015 Release) | http://bit.ly/1FR7zNW

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Learn more about Adobe Technical Communication Suite (2015 Release) | http://bit.ly/1FR7zNW

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Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

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References:
Future Tech Writer with Software Questions: From: Craig Lashley
RE: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions: From: Wroblewski, Victoria

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