Re: What are We?

Subject: Re: What are We?
From: Bruce Covell <brucec -at- CCTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 05:36:42 +0000

> My big concern is that other aspects of technical
> communication were not addressed as being part of a person's
> skill...

It's true that some employers over-emphasize specific tool skills. But
even those who truly appreciate and require communicators with
excellent writing and communication skills will look for candidates
who are familiar with the tools they provide on the job.

While most of us may become expert in the use of only a few tools, we
should take every opportunity to become familiar with as many as
possible, at least where technologies differ markedly. For example,
some of the most popular tools mentioned in employment ads are
FrameMaker, Word, RoboHelp, and ForeHelp. FrameMaker and Word are
worlds apart, and few writers will have the opportunity to use both on the
same job, but knowing one well and being familiar with the other will
make you a better candidate for more jobs. The same is true of
RoboHelp and ForeHelp. Each uses a very different approach to online
help development, and most writers won't be using both on the same
job, but being able to use either can put you ahead of otherwise
equally qualified candidates.

Writers who believe their tool skills are more important than their
communication and writing skills will probably end up working for
employers who agree - and I say that's a good match. Personally, I
wouldn't want to work for such an employer.

> I think we pigeon-hole technical
> writers as being "just writers" or documentation robots.

"Technical communicator" is a title that didn't exist fifteen, or
even ten, years ago. Then, there were only writers, and their skills
were often limited to just writing. Since then, a great deal of
research and work in technical communication has added a tremendous
inventory of skills and knowledge to the package that defines this
field. Writing skills alone, or communication skills alone, do not make a
technical communicator. You need the whole package.

Bruce Covell
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.

Bruce Covell Cooper and Chyan Technology Inc.
brucec -at- cctech -dot- com 1601 S. De Anza Boulevard
408.342.5630 Cupertino, CA 95014
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


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