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: Robin Whitmore <rwhitmore -at- weebly -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2016 19:48:09 +0000

Apologies for reading this too quickly earlier. This is actually critical.

Product Knowledge is huge. We have someone on our team who has incredible product knowledge by virtue of longevity and the projects worked on - a lot of history with the company - and is basically indispensable.

Product knowledge and domain knowledge (the industry you're in) are real bonus points. A Tech Writer in healthcare who has a bio background definitely has added value.



On Tuesday, September 06, 2016 3:54 PM, Robin Whitmore wrote:

I would also say Product Knowledge. I'm one of the few people who know almost all aspects of the product.
And Customer Relations.

On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 3:31 PM, Monica Cellio <cellio -at- pobox -dot- com> wrote:

> First and foremost, analytical thinking -- the same skills that go
> into analyzing a product or proposal for completeness, consistency,
> usability, and so on go into other business decisions.
> I'd also mention user-experience factors. Understanding who your user
> is, what he's trying to accomplish, and how your product fits into
> that is something a good technical writer understands and high-level
> business people need.
> I regularly apply all that to product definition; I work with the
> developers on our team through functional specs, interface design, and
> sometimes implementation design to make what we're building better for
> our users. That I spend much of my time writing words instead of
> writing code doesn't matter. This is all stuff you have to understand
> before you write those words.
> Monica
> On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 6:19 PM, Janoff, Steven
> <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
> > Apologies if this has been dealt with before.
> >
> > If you wanted to educate a VP, or someone from the C-suite, as to
> > what
> "abstract" skills a Tech Writer has that could be applied to their own
> challenges, what would you list?
> >
> > This is for the purpose of leveraging existing skills into the needs
> > of
> a larger department.
> >
> > I think these folks tend to think of writers as people who "write,"
> > and
> that's it -- if even that. Lot of examples lately of stereotyping as
> "making things look pretty," or just typing, or whatever.
> >
> > For me the first things that come to mind are information
> > architecture
> and the organizing of information. What comes to mind for you?
> >
> > So if you're sitting talking with a VP and you want to think of how
> > you
> could plug into his or her agenda, how would you characterize the
> highest level, most abstract version of your skills?
> >
> > You wouldn't say things like, "I can write stuff for you," or "I can
> make your reports look pretty."
> >
> > What would you say?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Steve
> >
> > PS - This is *not* where you're sitting there trying to pitch
> > yourself
> as a Technical Writer. What you're trying to do is pitch a way that
> you could approach one or more of their highest challenges for which
> you have skills that could be applied. Process improvement is an
> example, but not just Technical Writing process improvement or
> necessarily anything related to Tech Writing -- it's just that your
> skills as a Tech Writer, in some abstract form, at the highest level,
> might be able to be applied to their problem/challenge/opportunity, whatever you want to call it.

*Robin Whitmore*
Senior Tech Writer
460 Bryant Street, #100
San Francisco, CA 94107
rwhitmore -at- weebly -dot- com

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Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Monica Cellio
Re: Transferable skills of a Tech Writer: From: Robin Whitmore

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