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I think we've all noticed over the years that this list has fielded a lot of
questions from newbies. That's not surprising considering the nature of how
most of us wandered into this business and just forgot to wander out again.
I was a technician and journalist with an English/journalism degree when I
Lots of others become newbies at something narrower after getting broad
experience. For example, there are lots of people who have come up to me
over the years asking questions about contracting, which is a whole new
world after being a captive.
I propose to do a kind of FAQ just for newbie questions. Our Techwr-l site
has a FAQ, but what it does is list a question or topic and then display a
page with a bunch of responses from the list. If we were to add the common
newbie questions we'd promptly double the list of topics. As Eric pointed
out to me, it's a formidable task to put together a FAQ specifically for
newbies, and almost as great a task for the webmaster to juggle all those
separate topics. It seems to me that a single downloadable document would be
preferable. I'm willing to put it together and keep it on the Simply Written
website for download, if you'll help me by reviewing it and giving me some
help with the topics and answers. I'd be obliged if some of you could pick a
topic or two or three and just write me a note about it. Add topics if you
think they're warranted. And yes, I know in advance there each of these has
at least two separate camps that should be heard.
The topics I see right now are:
What is the definition of a technical communicator?
What operating systems and tools should I know?
Degrees: Do I need one, and in what subject? How do I find a program?
Resumes: Writing them, distributing them. What to include?
What are the general areas in which TC's work?
Locating a local STC chapter
Agencies and how to deal with them
Calculating rates for contractors
Glossary of terms (our TLAs...Three Letter Acronyms)
Bibiography of technical communications information
I'll collect comments for a few weeks, then let the list know when the doc
is ready for review. It'll be PDF'd on our site. I'll specify that some of
the comments are from Simply Written's experience, while specific list
comments will be noted as being such.