Learning Framemaker or C++ first? A Summary

Subject: Learning Framemaker or C++ first? A Summary
From: Susan Slattery <slattery_s -at- POPMAIL -dot- FIRN -dot- EDU>
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 15:06:01 -0400

Colleagues:

Thank you very much to those of you who responded to my questions. I found
all of the responses very thoughtful and enlightening. There was no
consensus. There were some strong responses for and against learning C++
first, or at all, and some responses that said FrameMaker is relatively
easy to learn. The responses made me realize that some of us are closer to
the code underlying the applications than others, and that has to do with
our own predilections, background, or the size of our organizations,
probably more than anything else.

This is a summary of the responses I received to my post asking which
should I learn first: C++ or FrameMaker?

I received 23 responses as of 6:00 on Nov 30. 3 were undeliverables.

The responses can be categorized into three types: C++, Framemaker, and Other

Take C++ first? 7 people said yes.

* Opens more doors
* Programmers take you more seriously
* Most Win95 applications are using C++ and the Microsoft Foundation Class
libraries
* Object Oriented Programming concepts are useful to know about
* C++ knowledge will enable you to make more money (two people mentioned this)
* C++ and O-O is a methodology (as opposed to a tool). A marketable skill on
its own, especially for a writer
* Taking and knowing C++ shows that you are able to describe and understand
processes.
* Shows willingness to learn technical material.
* You can talk with developers, and it is easier to read spec sheets.


Learn FrameMaker first? (and several of these responses--but not all--said
C++ would still be valuable to learn secondarily) 7 people said yes.

* FrameMaker is a basic tool
* If you are a student, you can get it at half price
* A majority of the TW jobs require Frame (from San Francisco area)
* TW's don't need C++
* "With FrameMaker or Ventura, for example, you get a front-end, WYSIWG
development tool. If a new language comes out, you don't need to learn it.
Wait a few months while the application programmers learn it, and then
upgrade your software."
* A few respondents suggested learning front end tools such as Visual Basic,
Visual C++ or Powerbuilder, to get the OOP feel.
* "Your primary function is technical communication, and your primary tools
are what you use to produce documentation."

Other responses that didn't fit into either category: 6 responses
* Learn Java. Don't learn C++.
* Look at the help wanted ads and see what they require.
* If you are a freelancer, buy FrameMaker. If you work with programmers and
your company provides the tools, take C++.
* Take courses in instructional design.
* Take a course in networks to learn more about the Internet.
* What are your interests and goals?
* Find the companies you want to work for and find out their requirements.
* Learn programming on your own, informally, and follow through with formal
course work only as time permits.

Some useful sources that were recommended:
* _JAVA Programming for Dummies_.
* A related suggestion was to search the internet
for sites with JAVA applets and view the source code.
* Another book is _OOP Programming for Dummies_.
* There is also a book in progress on the Web _Thinking in Java_
by Bruce Eckel.

What I decided to do:
I am going to learn OOP methodology and JAVA on my own, and I am going to
check pricing on FrameMaker.


With Thanks,

Susan Slattery
slattery_s -at- popmail -dot- firn -dot- edu


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