technical Writing Skills

Subject: technical Writing Skills
From: Geoffrey Marnell <gmarnell -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 23:07:16 +1100

Judging by the advertisements for technical writers - contractors and
permanents - the principal skill sought is technical expertise or
knowledge (often of some programming language or operating system).
Writing skills appear to take the back seat. In view of the fact that it
can take a moderately intelligent person weeks to master a new system,
but years to master clarity and precision in writing, this ranking of
skills seems, on the face of it, a trifle perverse. What do technical
writers think about this? If you were the client (not the 'server'),
would you prefer a technical whizz who could also write well, or a
good writer who was also cluey in the technical realm? (Don't cheat and
say both: you are asked, here, to RANK the two skills: writing expertise
versus technical expertise.)

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