Skills Upgrade? Finding Affordable Training?

Subject: Skills Upgrade? Finding Affordable Training?
From: "Hilary J. Harris" <hilaryh -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 1995 05:47:00 -0700

Hi, Techwhirlers-

I've been lurking on this list for a couple months now and just
LOVE it.

I need some help and have a question for 'ya--actually, it's a

First, what do you think are the most popular/practical basic
programming skills that technical writers need now? Secondly: Does
anyone have information to share on how to get AFFORDABLE training
to learn them?

I know, those are very general questions. I'll be more specific.
As a non-programmer technical writer (uh..sorry, should be
communicator ;-)), I find myself having to buy in to the idea that
technical communicators today need to be quasi-programmers, too.
Am I right? Assuming yes, it seems that I should build proficiency
in the following to stay afloat in our field:

-C++ and Visual Basic (I pick these only since I see them
referenced frequently. Am I on target? Do you think they're among
the most useful right now?)

Windows Help:
Doc-to-Help seems to be a popular one now (what do y'all think?)

On to the second part. In doing my homework, I'm finding that the
training courses available are NOT very affordable--at least for
my contractor-status budget. Even my local college wants around
$450 for a 2-day adult education course!

Since my "employer" is not an option to help with state-of-the art
training expenses, I'm looking for more affordable alternatives.

Probably many other contractors also practice self-learning to
acquire the skills they need. I do this quite frequently but am
not sure how well it may work to learn basic programming skills.
Again, what do y'all think? If you think this is a viable option,
can you recommend any specific books?

Oh, and just for the record, I live in the Raleigh-Durham area of
NC. So, anywhere from here north through the Washington,
DC/Baltimore area is fair game for possible training sites.

Guess that just about does it.

One more thing. While responses may be of interest to many list
readers, I'd like to request that responses also be e-mailed
directly to:
hilaryh -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

Techwhirlers, thanks for your help!


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