Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"

Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
From: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: David Tinsley <dtinsley -at- ndigital -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:32:36 -0500

David, I've seen it done, at a distance. That's basically why the
maintenance facilities at Kelly AFB in San Antonio were shut down by the
BRAC commission way back when. The Kelly depot was notorious for nepotism -
it was an open secret in San Antonio for decades. Locals accepted it as
normal that it was impossible to get hired there unless you were a relative
of someone who already worked there. The result was a work force filled
with high school dropouts and people who were functionally illiterate -
workers who were supposed to maintain incredibly complex aircraft, and were
not capable of understanding the tech manuals they were supposed to follow.

People who worked there would admit - to people they figured they could
trust - that most of the work was monkey see, monkey do. Uncle Eduardo
would drill young Louis on how to run the engine mount strain test until he
was rock solid on knowing where the needle on the gauge should point and
where it shouldn't. But neither of them could understand the strain test
manual and neither of them could spell the words they had to use on the
maintenance records. Once they ran the test they'd have to get the one guy
on their shift who could write to fill out the paperwork for them.

For years they got away with it because local politicians who wanted jobs
for their voters and to hell with their education levels could exert enough
pressure in Washington to keep the situation covered up. But once Congress
got serious about reducing military spending and started the BRAC program,
the investigations revealed the real state of worker efficiency, and the
reality of the low quality of the work they were doing. Then it was all
over but the crying from the local economy.

On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 2:53 PM, David Tinsley <dtinsley -at- ndigital -dot- com>
wrote:

> And there will always be a requirement for technical writers outside of
> software applications. Try replacing an aircraft engine without accurate
> procedures!
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+dtinsley=ndigital -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:
> techwr-l-bounces+dtinsley=ndigital -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
> John G
> Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 3:49 PM
> To: Bill Swallow
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
>
> For some small. focused, and easy-to-grasp applications, little if any
> documentation might be required. But large, complex, and multi-faceted
> applications will never be intuitive. Stuff still needs to be explained.
>
>
>
> On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 3:39 PM, Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
> > As always, the amount and type of documentation needed reflects
> > requirements, use cases, design, and execution against all those. I
> > swear I read this exact same article 20 years ago.
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References:
"Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: Donald H White
Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: Bill Swallow
Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: John G
RE: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: David Tinsley

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