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 14:10:27 -0500

>You said:
>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.

>You have confused experience with aptitude. Noah W. says that aptitude
>a "natural capability to learn." Nothing to do with experience.
> Therefore, I don't buy your argument here.

No I haven't. I am not equivocating the qualities, I am saying that one
skill compliments the other. If aptitude is the ability to learn then
experience provides the material with which aptitude is fulfilled. You
seemed to imply that aptitude is all that was necessary but
knowledge/experience is "neither here-nor-there". I say they are both
required. A pilot has the ability/aptitude to fly a plane but does not
fly until he/she actually takes off. How the pilot develops their
flight skills from that point on is due to experience.

>Good point. I ranted myself into a stereotype. Still, I think the
>communication theory training I had in J-school will carry me a lot
>in the world of Tech Comm than the Technical Writing class taught in
>engineering building on most campuses.

How much further then will experience and skills past nominal "writer
skills" take you?

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

>Another stereotype
>but true I'm afraid. When was the last time you saw a CS student in a
>communication theory class... or a document design class? Or for that
>matter, in a professional seminar about Usability (although this is
>changing a bit.)

This you would have to prove. My last experience in seeing a CS student
in a comm. class adds no more validity to a blanket statement such as
"All engineers ..." than your own personal observations.

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

>I am simply reporting my experience from my little slice of the world.
> Take it as a stereotype if you wish. To further complicate things, I
>also seen tech comm's who need a little help understanding the basic
>functionality of the Windows interface too. Again, be careful to judge
>one's attitude by the little slice you get in an email from some dark
>corner of the earth.

I wouldn't jump to these conclusions if you did not provide me the
trampoline :).


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

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