Re: Technical writing vs. engineering

Subject: Re: Technical writing vs. engineering
From: Worthington <debral -at- FALCON -dot- CC -dot- UKANS -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 21:14:54 -0500

I think we all need a vacation!

Bill


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On Thu, 27 Apr 1995,
Jennie Achtemichuk wrote:

> Chateau Wright (GE) wrote: "Believe me, as an civil engineering student my
> technical
> writing class was much more easier (sic) than any engineering class. To me,
> technical
> writing is basically researching and reporting information in a specific
> writing style. One doesn't even need a class, (sic) there are books that can
> teach a person to become a "technical writer". To be an engineer, you
> need so many fundamentals: you have to take Physics to know
> Thermodynamics and you have to take Thermodynamics to know Fluid
> Mechanics and you have to take Fluid Mechanics in order to take Water
> Resource Engineering and so on. I'm not trying to "downplay" technical writing
> but come
> on! It's not as easy to teach engineering to a writer that (sic) to teach
> writing to an
> engineer. Karla is wrong."


> Oh, please!! Let's stop this thread before we corrupt any more student's
minds.
> Can't
> they get out of college these days without these biases about their fields?
Have
> you ever
> come across a person who majored in a scientific field and thinks
> scientists/engineers/programmers have easy classes to take? I haven't.

> All these students say their skills and knowledge are far superior to those of
a
> technical
> writer. Yet they eavesdrop on our forum. Explain that one :-)

> Have you ever come across someone with a BS (or, an engineering degree) who
> found
> the complete technical pubs cycle easy? I haven't. You see, there's more to
> technical
> communication than meets the eye. For someone to say they have to take all
these
> classes to know their field, yet assume that us technical communicators need
> just one
> book to know our field is ludicrous. I've never heard a TC say that they could
> pick up civil
> engineering from one book, and I know you can't pick up TC from one book.

> One of Karla's points, if I remember right, is that this whole attitude is
> elitist. She's right
> about this. At this time, I'm not interested in being an engineer (or
> programmer, or
> secretary, or dentist). They are good at what they do, and I appreciate their
> challenges
> and achievements. However, these are exciting times for information designers
> with
> more mediums for communicating being developed all the time.

> If anything, engineers and technical communicators are becoming more reliant
on
> each
> other through all parts of product design cycles. These days, engineers need
us
> just as
> much as we need them.

> So, engineering students, before you draw conclusions on another field (or
your
> own field
> before you start practicing), cut other professions some slack. Maybe you
don't
> know
> everything yet.

> ___________________________
> Jennie Achtemichuk (206) 828-0229
> Kirkland, WA
> Independent Consultant (tech communication, instructional design)
> Employment Chair, Seattle chapter, STC
> Chair, Steering Committee, Visual Communicators PIC (in formation), STC


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