TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Core skills for technical communicators From:"Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 14 Mar 1996 14:45:59 EST
The newest Writer's Block, recently announced on this list
(http://www.magi.com/~niva/writblok/index.html), contains an
article titled "Reviewing a technical writer's performance" by
Anton Holland. The article is interesting in light of our
off-and-on discussion of what our profession's core skills are.
Holland lists eight criteria a manager can use to appraise a
technical communicator (quoting verbatim):
- The ability to translate a morass of technical details into a
clear hierarchy of concepts
- Knowledge and attention to document design
- Consistency in editing
- Ability to plan one's workload
- Proper and consistent reporting habits
- Establishing and maintaining a good rapport with clients
- Good knowledge of documentation tools
- Desire and ability to learn new concepts
It's a pretty good list, although the longer I look at it the more
I feel like rewording, reshuffling, and generally messing around
with it. I'm glad, at least, that the next-to-last item doesn't
say "Ability to use (name-of-your-favorite-DTP-system-here)."
Comments? Would (should) the list be any different if we were
talking about hiring technical communicators, as opposed to
BTW, the same Writer's Block carries a feature article that
refers -- I am not making this up -- to a study of the human
brain done by a Professor Hare. The rest of the pun is left
as an exercise for the reader.
STC Assistant to the President for Professional Development
ldkunz -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com