Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Barb Ostapina <Barb -dot- Ostapina -at- METROMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 14:54:30 -0500

However, in modern industrial times this practice has fallen out of favour.
I don't know why, but for some reason we have devalued "on the job"

I believe, Rowena, that the reason is time. Or better put, the lack of it
that seems so prevalent today. Companies, from what I've seen, especially
after having been "right-sized," want you to come already knowing what
you're supposed to know, or to learn it very quickly and without taking too
much precious time from already valuable "experts."

I think this is also at the crux of our job as technical writers. We are
supposed to help this quick-learning process by writing clear, accurate and
concise instructions, training, etc. I think having some technology in the
background helps us accomplish that, but, at least in the software domain
from which I hail, a little goes a long way. For the most part, software
development is a logical process. And most software of a genre is like the
rest of its group -- nuances in execution, but the concepts are the same.
(The "if you know one word processor you can figure out any of them" idea
that I think it quite true.)

I agree with the posters who feel that the ability to think, analyze,
extrapolate and such are what matter most. It's easier to teach the skills
and concepts to a good writer who knows how to apply that knowledge to the
next, not-quite-the-same-but-not-totally-unalike situation than vice versa.

barb -dot- ostapina -at- metromail -dot- com
...speaking only for myself.

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