Re: Leading and Bleeding Edge?

Subject: Re: Leading and Bleeding Edge?
From: Susan Post <simariepost -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: Tom Johnson <tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2016 19:54:48 -0700

Hi Lonie,

I'm a tech writer who lives and works in Colorado Springs. Since you're teaching at the university here, there are a few things
I think you should mention to your students if they're hoping to get a job here after graduation. First, the vast majority of TW jobs in
Colorado Springs are in private companies working government contracts. Most often the tool of choice is Arbortext,
an SGML/XML based editor. Some companies use FrameMaker, but that seems to be the exception to the rule.
I have not seen anyone use Flare, although I think it's the best of the COTS products. And, unbelievably, some still use Word
for their large doc projects. As everyone knows, government is slow to change,
and with one exception, I have not come across any senior level tech writers who've ever even heard of or worked with DITA.

On another topic, your students should be aware that to work the government jobs in this town, you have to get a clearance.
Among the things you're questioned about is illegal drug use. While weed may be legal now in Colorado, it is still against
federal law. So, help your students understand that what they may choose to do recreationally could have long term consequences
for getting a job.

-Susan Post




On Jan 4, 2016, at 4:23 PM, Tom Johnson wrote:

> Chris wrote: "The ability to read code and document APIs (RESTful, etc.)
> is currently in vogue ...."
>
> I recently wrote a post explaining on the ripple effect of API growth on
> the tech comm community. You can read it here:
> http://bit.ly/2016techcommtrends
>
> I try to address some of the trends that Lonie was asking about (the "leading
> and bleeding edge technologies technical
> writers use to create publications and documentation"). I mention Github,
> static site generators, and API-based CMS tools.
>
> The problem with bleeding edge tools is that they rarely satisfy the
> requirements placed on tech writers. People want modern-looking,
> interactive websites. Then they also explain on that they need PDF
> generation, translation, multi-edit capabilities, single source generation,
> workflows, and document statuses, etc. By the time the list of requirements
> is finalized, about the only tools that satisfy them are more traditional
> tech comm tools.
>
> Tom
>
> ---------------------
> blog: idratherbewriting.com
> twitter: tomjohnson
> email: tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com
> cell: 408-540-8562
>
> On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
>> The ability to read code and document APIs (RESTful, etc.) is currently in
>> vogue; I've had to pass a couple of those opportunities due to lack of
>> hands-on experience (although I'm certain I could quickly learn). Speaking
>> of adaptability, there are some useful tutorials on YouTube, but one has to
>> vet them carefully.
>>
>> There is still a call for Framemaker skills; I used Classroom In a Book to
>> get myself up-to-speed on one project.
>>
>> I've also had to recently pass on a gig that involved DITA—again because of
>> lack of any actual experience (being an autodidact doesn't count).
>>
>> Content reusability/repurposing is a big deal today; tools like MadCap
>> Flare and Atlassian Confluence seem to rule here. I don't know about
>> Atlassian, but MadCap has a lot of free Flare video tutorials and such on
>> their site.
>>
>> Chris Morton
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 11:42 AM, Lonie McMichael <loniemc -at- gmail -dot- com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Hello, Folks:
>>>
>>> I searched the archives and have not found any recent conversations on
>> this
>>> topic. If it has already been discussed, I would appreciate being pointed
>>> towards the thread.
>>>
>>> I am teaching Tools for Technical Writers this semester. My students will
>>> be writing reports on leading and bleeding edge technologies technical
>>> writers used to CREATE publications and documentation. Unfortunately, I
>>> only have the old standards (Adobe, Microsoft, etc.) to use in class.
>>> However, I can make them aware of what they might be facing when they
>> leave
>>> school. Also, I do teach them what I call "technological adaptability":
>> how
>>> to learn new technologies and software packages quickly.
>>>
>>> Since this list is the best place I know for such information, right now
>> --
>>> Jan 2016, in your company and your area, what software are you using to
>>> create your documentation? Are you exploring any new publication software
>>> or technologies? Do you see some significant changes coming in the
>>> relatively near future?
>>>
>>> Thanks for any input!
>>>
>>> --Lonie McMichael
>>> Senior Instructor
>>> UCCS
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> <
>>>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Leading and Bleeding Edge?: From: Lonie McMichael
Re: Leading and Bleeding Edge?: From: Chris Morton
Re: Leading and Bleeding Edge?: From: Tom Johnson

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