RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"

Subject: RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 01:32:15 +0000

I think Jose Ortega y Gasset, "The Revolt of the Masses," "the barbarism of specialization" - before the 1900's, many people were generalists, and the early 20th century brought in the "age of specialization." If I remember right, a lot of specialized occupations began at that time. Tech writing was probably an outgrowth of all that, especially mass manufacturing.

I mean, "software developer" has to be pretty new.

I think Ortega also said that pre-1900, majority of the world's population lived in rural areas, even though the big cities were already getting pretty big. But then the cities started getting packed.

Anyway... certain aspects of the field are dying and others are growing.

Steve

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 4:30 PM, Gene Kim-Eng wrote:

Yes, it is. And you have to put together all available bits of information to come to a best guess.

We know for sure that technical writing as a job already existed in the "hidden job market" of internal company assignments by the time ads for the job appeared, simply because jobs always already exist before anyone decides to try to fill them.

We know for sure that it did not exist when we look at vintage documents and see that they are all written by the same people who designed and/or built what they documented.

Somewhere in between these is where technical writing became a job unto itself rather than just one of many functions of a technical job. I think the TCWorld article's mention of the world wars as the timeframe for the emergence of writing as a primary function rather than an aside is probably in the right ballbark.

Gene Kim-Eng


On 3/23/2016 3:46 PM, Rick Lippincott wrote:
>> OK, I'll buy that. But I think there's a problem in your methodology,
>> if you are basing it on "when did people start advertising for the
>> job called by that name?" I think what you should be trying to find
>> is "When did people start going in to work in the morning with the
>> assumption that tech writing would be their primary job, and their
>> expected output was some sort of manual." That's going to be a much
>> tougher search.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Rick Lippincott
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: mbaker
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Rick Lippincott
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Gene Kim-Eng

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