Re: A Technical Writer by any other name....

Subject: Re: A Technical Writer by any other name....
From: "You can't get there from here; you have to go somewhere else first." <angela -at- VENUS -dot- SMARTSTAR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 1995 09:50:10 -0800

Kevin B. writes:

> The key in all these things is that here at Xerox we are asked to
>actually analyze what we will write. We cannot just take a circuit drawn by an
>engineer, and just by looking at it, create documentation to fix the circuit.
>We must analyze the circuit, fail it for ourselves, see what reaction it has on
>the rest of the system, and then create logical documentation to find the given

...stuff skipped...

> (DEEP BREATH) So, what would my current position at XEROX be called in
>some of your companies? Is there an equivalent? or is this company the only one
>that couples "engineering" type work (Maintenance Planning, or troubleshooting
>analysis) with Technical Writing? Is there a certain Job Title I should be
>looking for in ads and job postings other than Technical Writer? Is there a
>typical Job Title for someone who does the analyzing portion of my job? If so
>what are they called?

I document software, and we often are given little or no details about what it
does, or else we are told what someone thinks it does, which can be very
different from what it actually does. I must test the software, or write
programs that use it, to see what it really does so that I can then document
it. As a result, I'm often asked to help out in the Quality Assurance
department to test the software when they need an extra hand.

As far as a job title is concerned, I do call myself a technical writer, which
to me means I have technical expertise and writing expertise, not just that I
am a writer who happens to write about technical subjects. Technical expertise
doesn't mean that I could develop the software, but it means I know how to test
it and what to look for, and can even offer design or user-interface
suggestions to the developers.

If you're given all the information already and are only allowed to edit and
format it, that doesn't seem to me to be technical writing. I am learning from
this list, though, that lots of folks are apparently given drafts of user
documentation from the technical people and are expected to
rewrite/edit/fill-in from there, but I have never worked in a situation like
that. The most information I get is software specifications (which are usually
wrong or out-dated), but they are definately not intended as user

Angela Howard
angela -at- smartstar -dot- com

*MHOs, not my employer's*

Previous by Author: Re: Survey: How do you want to get info on available training?
Next by Author: Re: Assumption of Knowledge
Previous by Thread: Re: ROADMAP Internet Course
Next by Thread: Re: Begging the Question

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads