Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG

Subject: Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 12:48:52 -0500

Bill;

Stand on the soapbox and you make yourself easier to hit.

>>I DON'T think you need (nor I would argue want) a programming background to
>>document any sort of development effort. What I feel you DO need is an
>>aptitiude for >this stuff, and to not shut-out new concepts and
>>information as "too techie."

How does one develop an aptitude for "this stuff" without gaining some
background? Any experience/knowledge gained in programming creates a
background and thus increases aptitude.

>>Why you ask? I have seen too many engineers turned tech comms who
>>couldn't communicate their way out of a wet paper bag. In addition, I
>>have found a >direct correlation between the skill level and the
>>inadequacy of their communications >skills: The higher the skill
>>level of engineer, the more their writing style resembles
>>a text book.

I thought the issue was Technical Writers adding application/programming
skills to their repertoire, not Engineers trying to be writers. Your
correlation sounds to me like stereotype.

>>When authoring reference information, the text book doesn't cover it any
>>more gang. The younger gens (like gen X and below... to which I belong by
>>the way) don't have the attention span to pour over reams of DBC's (dense
>>blocks of crap) to find out how to sub-class a function.

Good point put rather crudely.

>>Most engineers do not have the education/training to communicate
>>visually, to >design documents for easy scanning, high retention and
>>flatter, less confusing >hiearchies.

Another stereotype

>>Bottom line to this rant: While I certainly respect greatly the skill it
>>takes to develop truly portable objects for reuse, I do not think anyone on
>>the development team I sit with would want me to code high-end CORBA/C++
>>stuff. I am not trained to accomplish this, and my efforts would injure
>>the team's overall performance.

So can attitude

>>In turn, I don't want to have the documentation we produce lessened by
>>people who are not trained to communicate effectively. It is a team
>>approach, you do what you do best, I'll do what I do best. Together, as a
>>team, fulfilling our roles, we will succeed.

How do you promote a team effort with attitudes like:

> "I have seen too many engineers turned tech comms who couldn't
communicate their way out of a wet paper bag",

>" Most engineers do not have the education/training to communicate
visually", and

>"I have found a direct correlation between the skill level and the
inadequacy of their communications "?

Bottom Line: If you don't want to develop any technical skills, just
stick with "writing". This way you don't have to worry about padding
your resume with clutter such as "familiar with C++, Lotus Notes, VB,
etc.". However, go to a job fair and see if the recruiters don't
highlight these skills on the resumes handed to them by Technical
Writers who do have this clutter.

Mike Wing

>_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
>_/
>_/ Michael Wing
>_/ Principal Technical Writer
>_/ Jupiter Customization and Educational Services
>_/ Intergraph Corporation
>_/ 730-7250
>_/ mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com
>_/



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