Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Matt Craver <MCraver -at- OPENSOLUTIONS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 11:05:45 -0400

John Gilger [JohnG -at- MIKOHN -dot- COM] wrote:
>Graduates of "hard" schools like Colorado School of Mines tend to have
>their thinking skills more highly developed than graduates from
>University of Colorado in Boulder. (Before all you Buffs get in a
>this is a general example. My son chose Mines after we investigated
>both and I went to neither.)
>PC is so pervasive in the classic liberal arts arena that it is hard to
>find a program that emphasizes critical thought
I know very little about either of these schools, so I'll refrain from
commenting on John's impressions about them. What I assume John means
by "hard" schools are institutions that have had a historical focus on
technology and agriculture, MIT, RPI, Texas A&M, etc. I suppose one
could make an argument that their students tend to develop "real world"
skills that make them marketable to employers, but even this is so much
of a stereotype that I would have a hard time defending it. I feel the
variation among the students at one campus is greater than the
differences in students between campuses (the standard deviation is
greater than the differences in the means).
To come back on-topic, I think Candace was right when she said that the
essential skills are an ability to research and analyze a topic and then
present it. Most colleges do not teach research or analysis skills,
whether they are "hard" or "soft". If colleges did teach these skills
to the majority of their students, politics and advertising would never
be the same <g>! Add to this the fact that more and more students seem
to be attending college for the parties...
I any event, the best TW's are ones who have developed these abilities
in a variety of industries or work experiences. TW's do not need to be
SME's (otherwise, as Max pointed out, they would be). TW's should be
experts in communicating the knowledge the SME's possess to the people
using <X> product or service. Knowledge of a particular tool is nice,
but the media is still a tool that can be learned by most users.
Learning how to think, however, is an entirely different matter.

-Matthew Craver,
Technical Documentation
Open Solutions Inc.
Mcraver -at- opensolutions -dot- com

Previous by Author: Re: Personal Stuff on Resumes
Next by Author: request:Help with the "Web toolbar" in Word 97
Previous by Thread: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
Next by Thread: Non-technical, Technical Writers

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads