Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 17 Feb 1996 to 18 Feb 1996

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 17 Feb 1996 to 18 Feb 1996
From: Win Day <winday -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 14:36:42 -0500

At 10:47 AM 2/19/96 -0500, Patrick McCarthy wrote:
<SNIP> a lot of blank lines that eat bandwidth
> Dear Writers,

> I agree with the individual who says that engineers cannot simply
> walk into a technical writing position with no more than English Comp
> and the belief that tech writing is simple.

> I have seen enough junk written by such individuals. In the consulting
>end of
> tech pubs, I believe that no one takes you seriously (pays decent
>bucks) until
> you have between 8-10 years experience.

I _DON"T_ agree. I am a chemical engineer who went from full-time
engineering right into freelance technical writing. I had never had any
formal tech writing training other than an introductory course in my
freshman year of university.

I have seen enough JUNK written by some non-tech tech writers, one of whom
actually has a Masters degree in tech writing (or tech communication, I'm
not sure what his degree is called), to realize that I can stack my writing
up against theirs, any time.

The individual in question couldn't write a grammatically-correct sentence.
He couldn't organize a document, or a documentation project. He certainly
couldn't work collaboratively. And even though his undergraduate degree was
in engineering, his understanding of engineering terms and practices was not
sufficient for him to recognize serious flaws in material provided by SMEs.

Bah! Humbug! I know there are marvelous tech writers who don't have tech
backgrounds. I also know there are marvelous tech writers who do. Blanket
statements that exclude either group from the community of good tech writers
because of their education and background are ridiculous.

Sorry, you pushed a real hot button there.

Win Day
Technical Writer/Editor
Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com

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