Re: Radical Idea?

Subject: Re: Radical Idea?
From: Pete Kloppenburg <pkloppen -at- CERTICOM -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 13:30:53 -0400

John Bell writes:
> So, hypothetically speaking, would you as a tech writer enjoy a job
> where you were doing technical writing, client training, and client
> technical support? If the company grows larger and the opportunity to
> split into separate disciplines arises, should we split and which
> discipline(s) would you want to work in?

Yes, I would very much like to be in an environment like that. For starters,
I find that doing only documentation gets pretty stale after a while. Being
able to switch to support or training would do wonders for keeping my
interest levels up.

Also, I think that that arrangement would pay dividends for the company,
because as a tech writer, you are probably more intimately acquainted
with the products than most developers. This makes you a pretty good
support person, I'll bet. And as a support person, you get feedback
directly from the customers, something that most writers never do. Thus
being a support person makes you a better tech writer (or at least will
tend to make your documentation better.)

Training would seem to be a synthesis of those two activities. Most
trainers don't have the benefit of either writing or support roles, and I
think most training programs suffer badly as a result.

One person could not possibly cover all those jobs alone. But a team
of people could, easily. I bet a team of three writers would be the ideal
set-up. Each person would have ability in all three areas, but would
concentrate on one while having competence in another. This sort of
set-up allows people to specialize, but leaves your team deep enough
so that even if one person leaves, or goes on vacation, the team can

I say, fight for that idea. Until your company gets huge, you could
end up having a very nice setup for you and your (future) team.


Pete Kloppenburg - pkloppen -at- certicom -dot- com
Technical Writer
Mississauga, Ontario

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