Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"

Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
From: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L Digest <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2015 13:22:49 -0400

Science for me:

1) The original piece completely begs the question. Having trouble getting content out of your in-house writing team? Outsource it! Butâ how does the outsourced company get content out of THEIR in-house waiting team? Outsource it?

2) Technical writing of all kinds is more science than art, because art changes over time, while the rules and guidelines for tech writing have remained pretty constant, without major changes, for many decades. (I have a bit of a collection of tech writing books, going back over a century, and their advice is more alike than different.)

3) Writing may be an art, but software technical writing is specialized, and has the major characteristics of a profession (a code of ethics, a body of knowledge, and certification of practitioners), at least if youâre associated with STC.

Speaking to the original point, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics finds nearly 50,000 technical writers in the US alone, and predicts above-average growth job over the next 15 years. Thatâs not the profile of a dying career! I personally believe there are more practitioners than ever before. The thing is, though, that the number of people writing for one specific topic and one specific output medium will always decline when the next thing becomes popular. Writing about business applications in printed manuals? Dying. Writing about consumer applications in online Help? Declining. Writing the UI for Web applications? Thriving! Itâs all words.
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