Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"

Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
From: John G <john -at- garisons -dot- com>
To: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- nuot -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:56:07 -0400

I, for one, welcome our new Andrew Plato overlord.

Now, get back to work, you!



On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 4:30 PM, Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- nuot -dot- com> wrote:

> I agree, but that's some serious Plato-bait. If he's lurking, he'll
> respond!
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John G
> Sent: Friday, August 21, 2015 4:19 PM
> To: David Artman
> Cc: TECHWR-L
> Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
>
> The debate about hiring "people who can write and teaching them the
> technology" and hiring "subject matter experts and teaching them to write"
> has been going on since Joe Chapline wrote the very first software manual
> in the '40s for Eckert and Mauchley.
>
> About 20 years ago, Joe related his memories of this debate in his keynote
> address at an InterChange conference. He said that after trying to teach
> engineers how to write for a few months, they gave up, hired some English
> majors, explained things to them, and started getting cogent, structured,
> and organized documents as a result.
>
> We're still in the same situation. We need people who have both the
> understanding (or ability to learn) about the technical content and the
> ability to convert that understanding into a comprehensible and usable
> medium. What the media are, and what skills it takes to use them may
> change, but the innate ability to explain hasn't.
>
> In my experience, it's far easier to teach someone who knows how to write
> what to write about than to find someone who knows what to write about and
> teach them how to write.
>
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References:
RE: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: David Artman
Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: John G
RE: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: Dan Goldstein

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