Re: Most Important Programs to Learn

Subject: Re: Most Important Programs to Learn
From: Bonni Graham <Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1993 12:15:00 EST

Christy Yoder asks:

"What programs are essential for a new worker in the Professional Writing world
to know?"

OOOOh this pushes hot buttons for me. Here's why:

First and foremost: Learn how to write. Learn how to lay out a page. Learn
the theory of creating a good graphic.

Learn _a_ word processor (a complex one, not Microsoft Write, that comes with
Windows). Learn _a_ desktop publishing system. Learn _a_ graphics package.
Once you've learned one, picking up another is not that hard, thanks to things
like CUA guidelines.

If you understand the theory of what you are trying to do, the tools will come.
A company requiring expert knowledge of specific writing tools is like a car
dealer requiring a mechanic to know how to use Snap-On tools. IMHO, tools is
tools. If you know how to write, you can pick up the basics of a word processor
fairly quickly (and know how to look up the rest). If you don't know how to
write, you can know how a word processing package works better than the people
who designed it do, and you still won't produce a usable manual.

My take on this has always been: If I can't learn to use my _own profession's_
tools quickly enough to get the job done, how can you expect me to learn your
product quickly enough to?

Yes, a pre-existing knowledge of Word, WordPerfect, Ventura, Framemaker,
Interleaf, CorelDRAW, or whatever will help you. But ultimately, a solid
knowledge of how to write, layout a page, and at least create a rough graphic
will help you more.

Unfortunately, most companies DO require certain packages. I'd recommend
looking in the want ads for your area or for particular jobs that you really
want -- what are they asking for? Go learn those.

Bonni Graham |
Technical Writer | serif, n. A teensy-weensy
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | crossbar attached to the
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | ends of letterforms by
President, San Diego STC | malevolent typesetters. Ac-
| cording to popular legend,
NOTE: apparently my email address needs | the first serif was designed
to be typed exactly as it appears here, | at Nottingham.
punctuation and all, or the system gets |
upset. | --Ezra Shapiro

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