Query -- Software doc writer's responsibilities -Reply

Subject: Query -- Software doc writer's responsibilities -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 12:31:53 -0800

>What other writing, besides the actual documentation, are you asked
to do? Are you sometimes expected as the hired pen to draft in-house
reports, correspondence, proposals? Am I mistaken in thinking that
there is a creature called a software documentation writer (or
whatever) who just works with SMEs and the software to develop
documentation?

Technical writer is probably just about as blurry a title as
professor or medical doctor or linebacker. What you do depends on
what your boss asks you to do or what your skills qualify you to do
or what needs to be done. As a guy who gets asked to do a variety of
things, I appreciate the diversity and the change of pace. I think it
makes me a better worker and perhaps even a better person. There is
nothing more dull than someone who knows how to hum just one tune.

I signed on here as a technical writer. When the boss looked at my
experience he decided senior technical writer was appropriate. Our
company makes hardware and software. The boss decided to make me the
software documentation writer. In our little shop, there are lulls in
the software production. During these periods I have found other
things to do, other ways to make myself useful in areas such as
editing, training, and marketing.

My college degree is in English. I believe in walking around with a
broad base of skills. I don't think you should be asking about the
other stuff we are "asked to do." It's more like the other stuff we
get to do. You never know how or when it might come in handy.

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


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