Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"

Subject: Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 23:22:18 -0400

No, not necessarily a developer, but a technical person. There is a difference.

What he was describing was hiring the English major who knows nothing technical, as opposed to hiring the person who may have had the AS degree in technology, or had worked their way up through the company from grunt, to assembler, to technician, to finally writer. Yes, most companies don't allow that transition anymore, but some still do that by jumping companies.

It would be silly to hire a developer that all you used them for was to write software technical manuals, but hiring the person who programmed their own home projects or dabbled in personal programming projects would be a much better choice that a person who has no grasp of a programming language.

He is looking for a clean slate who will not question any code produced by the programmers, will never question their explanation of what is happening, thus never discovering their mistakes, and will come to work dirt cheap. He is looking for a secretary who will take dictation from the developers and then clean up the format.

Typically, the person with the higher skills level (programmer vs. technical, engineer vs. technician, etc.) would be foolish monetarily to work a job below their skill set, although many choose to do so because of enjoyment, lack of stress, sense of accomplishments, and other personal reasons. Sometimes they do it for the simplest of reasons - they need a job to pay the bills. If all the high skills jobs are full, or are laying off, and the lower ones are available, then you decide quickly if eating and paying the mortgage is more important than the title of your job.

Even so, making a decision to hire someone from a pool of people with 50% of the qualifications instead of someone from the pool with 85% of the qualifications is silly, unless you a.) want a clean slate you can train in your method and want to previous baggage or b.) you are after someone you can hire cheap.


Your guy below sounds like a management issue, in that the manager didn't keep tabs on things and let him get off course too much.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10:37 PM
Subject: Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing"


In the software industry, at least, a developer who can write can make
a lot more money writing software.

I've worked with two developers who switched to writing because they
preferred it. One of them had a tendency to turn everything into a
development project, which made him not very productive.

On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 7:11 PM, William Sherman
<bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com> wrote:


If you were looking for technical writers, why choose between non-technical
people who can write and technical people who can't? Wouldn't hiring
technical people who can write be the desirable choice?
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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: John G
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: William Sherman
Re: "Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing": From: Robert Lauriston

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