A question about gaining technical skills. -Reply

Subject: A question about gaining technical skills. -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 10:28:51 -0700

>>(both paper and on-line) <snip> How do I gain enough =
"technical and mechanical" skills to be able to do both????

I know there are books on Guerilla Marketing and Guerilla
Advertising. Has anyone written a book on Guerilla Tech Writing yet?
Three years ago, when I was in exactly your position, I bought a
copy of Developing Online Help for Windows by Boggan, Farkas, and
Welinske. This trio has recently published a book on Windows 95, but
I would recommend today that you learn to write OLH (online help) at
the Windows level before stepping up to the bells and whistles of
Windows 95. [There is also such as thing as OLH for OS/2 but I know
of no OS/2-based book that sets forth the theory of OLH like the
Windows and Windows 95 books do.]

What I did was read BF&W. It was the best and cheapest way I had to
learn the skills. I did not own a PC. In interviews, I begged for a
chance to do OLH, just like you. I was brushed aside a few times, but
I didn't stop studying and networking (Bonni Graham of the San Diego
STC and this list answered questions and was helpful and supportive)
and I didn't lose my determination.

Finally one day, I had been working on some software manuals when the
boss said the OLH would have to be updated. I know how to do that, I
said. I didn't blink or hesitate, and the bottom didn't fall out of
my stomach. A river lay before me, and I knew I had finally figured
out how to cross it. I was ready.

>>I do have access to PageMaker, Microsoft Office Professional (I
think the version I have is 4.0. It's pre-Win 95.

If your Microsoft Office includes Word version 2.0, shout Hallelujah!
and RUN to buy the Boggans book. This tome comes with a diskette that
has a template that meshes only with Word version 2. Granted, it
won't be as fancy as those name brand help programs, but it's got all
you need to teach yourself the fundamentals of OLH work.

PS and BTW, as long as you have PageMaker and some time, put a
manuscript file into it and start playing with PageMaker's indexing
tools. That's another saleable skill you could put into your bag.

Bill Sullivan
bsullivan -at- deltecpower -dot- com
San Diego, California

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