Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer

Subject: Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
From: Raj Karamchedu <raj -at- rajkaramchedu -dot- com>
To: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 16:30:32 -0700

I've been both a VP and a COO/day-to-day CEO, with overall 20+ years'
experience in Silicon Valley, now following my tech writing passion, and I
am speaking from my own experience.

As you go higher up the responsibility, senior manager, director, VP and
CxO on up, a particular skill-set, i.e., an ability to stay unattached,
becomes vital. Often at these higher levels department heads doggedly
pursue their own passion and agenda, many times not really ready or willing
to make tough decisions. Group think and party-line thinking pervades (yes,
even in startups.)

I think a tech writer has all the right background (product, tech,
customers and the perception of customers) but none of the attachment
baggage. Many times a VP or a CxO wishes in her heart of hearts that
someone just tell her the facts, express his/her independent opinion, so a
tough decision can be made with a clear head. I'd say a tech writer is
quite remarkably suited to this independent thinker role. In a nutshell,
tech writing skillsets help us hone in on the essence of the matter, and
that is a big asset for dispassionate decision making.

Raj

On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 4:21 PM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
wrote:

> I'm not talking about documentation, with all due respect.
>
> I'm talking about skills we have that we've developed along the way of our
> careers as Technical Communicators, but that, either individually or in
> certain combinations, can be applied to higher-level challenges that might
> have nothing to do with documentation.
>
> The two best ones I've heard so far are analytical thinking (Monica --
> this is actually perfect) and researching (Robert).
>
> You're not going to put "Analytical Thinker" or "Researcher" at the top of
> your resume (usually -- that second one might be appropriate for some
> things), but you can apply your skill of analytical thinking, or
> researching, or both, to a VP's particular challenge that might have
> nothing to do with documentation or technical communication.
>
> This is what I meant by "transferable skills" from our skill set.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Steve
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Neilson [mailto:neilson -at- windstream -dot- net]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2016 4:06 PM
> To: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com; Janoff, Steven <
> Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer
>
> On Tue, 06 Sep 2016 18:49:07 -0400, Janoff, Steven <
> Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > But that pigeonholes you into being a communicator.
> >
> > What I'm trying to get at is skills that might transcend that, but use
> > pieces of what we know and can do from the foundation of our roles.
>
> I've told this story before, but it may be helpful here:
>
> Product Mgr: "When is the software going to be ready to ship?"
> Dev Mgr: "As soon as Laura (tech writer) stops finding bugs in it."
> TW Mgr: "Are you saying that you would prefer the customer to find the
> bugs?"
> Dev Mgr: "That's not what I meant at all!"
>
> I have occasionally had to ask, "Would you prefer me to document according
> to the project plan, or to the design specs, or to the written code, or to
> the way I think the product should work?" The answer is usually not
> pleasant, sometimes suggesting that I should stick to writing.
>
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--
Raj Karamchedu
Sunnyvale, CA
Mobile: +16508146017
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: mbaker
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Peter Neilson
RE: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven

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