Re: Knowing prog. lang. +s to a TW's $?

Subject: Re: Knowing prog. lang. +s to a TW's $?
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 13:41:04 -0600

Elna Tymes wrote:
> David Castro asked:
> >
> > Does knowing a programming language add to a technical writer's value?
> In my 30-some years of tech writing, I have usually not found that
> knowing a specific programming language actually helps you do a better
> job of researching and writing. Where it DOES help is getting you past
> the qualification interview.

Actually, I've found a few reasons to disagree with this:

* Elna mentioned that knowing a PL is good for understanding what a
developer is
doing with a piece of code. As an offshoot (and an important one),
I'd add that,
if you're trying to expand your role beyond that of the traditional
tech writer, into
human factors or usability (and I definitely am), having technical
knowledge is vital,
in _gaining credibility with engineers_, to say nothing of having the
ability to suggest or
implement solutions to problems.

* Frankly, it gives you career options.

I'd suggest this as well - knowing software engineering methodologies is
nothing to sneeze at. Actually understanding, for example, how Object
Oriented Analysis works has made my job much more interesting (and

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