RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2016 01:53:59 +0000

You know, I'm not sure how this thread got so far afield, although it could be because of a certain vagueness on my part, for which I apologize.

I guess I'm trying to get at what a skill really is. Not only the word is bandied about but the actual skills are.

What is skill and what skills do I possess, by virtue of having had a long career as a Technical Writer? And how are these skills applicable to other aspects of the work at hand.

That's really all of it.

I can't really argue with anything you say below.

Steve

On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 6:37 PM, Lauren wrote:

On 9/6/2016 5:38 PM, Janoff, Steven wrote:
> Now let's assume that the VP has a problem that has nothing to do with documentation, or UX, or information products, or anything we normally deal with.

All of the skills you mention and that have been mentioned can have multiple applications in other disciplines. You need to shift your focus from that of a technical communicator (TW, BA, etc.) looking to apply skills to other disciplines and to look at specific disciplines to analyze how your skills can be applied.

> What are some of the highest level challenges you could imagine, that you could apply these skills to, with success?

"Highest level"? World War III or other global warfare, Extraterrestrial invasion, an international plague, the U.S. Presidential election, and more...

> For example: "Interviewing skills (including people skills)" -- perhaps you could help the VP build a team for a particular project.

What does the VP do? What does the VP want? Are you the VP?

> I'm just reaching here, and that's not the best example. It could be helping with business process improvement within the VP's department. Or organizing the VP's various corporate policies into a SharePoint site.
>
> I'm not doing a very good job of explaining this, obviously, but I'm trying to think outside the box.

You lost me a little. I think you are trying to view the outside of the box from within the box, rather than thinking outside of the box.

> The problem is in thinking about what we do relative to what we do, versus what we do relative to what someone at a higher level might do.

Look at high level job descriptions and see how your skills line up and can facilitate the job duties of those higher positions.

> PS - Thought experiment: "Analytical ability (to perform audience, needs, and task analysis)" -- how would you apply that skill to a non-documentation, non-UX project?

I can apply it to anything...

Here's a job.
https://www.dice.com/jobs/detail/CIO-eQuest-Solutions-Los-Angeles-CA-90018/equest/201?icid=sr3-1p&q=chief%20information%20technology%20officer&l=CA

Here is my response (hella plagiarized) with your "thought experiment"
to one of the "specifics that each department is responsible for and the CIO will be managing."

* Analyzed audience needs and tasks to help install best practices for data management projects; created detailed business requirements documents and technical specification documents; and provided analysis to assure technical designs met business requirements to deliver high-quality work on tight schedules.

Nearly every other "specific" in that JD can be met with skills from technical communication. If you want to help a CIO, then you can look at the JD for CIO and match up your skills to the needs of that CIO.

Lauren

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Jelus, Susan C.
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Lauren

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