Re: Matt's Case of the Mid-Level TW Blues

Subject: Re: Matt's Case of the Mid-Level TW Blues
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 01:04:49 -0700

George Mena wrote:

> I also happen to disagree that Matt's peaked after only 4 1/2 years as a
> technical writer. If anything, he's just getting started as one. In
> terms of "keeping up the challenge," he may well be ready to go back to
> school and pick up on some technical or engineering classes as well as
> start working on earning a certificate in tech pubs management.

I wouldn't quite agree that "he's just getting started..." But I do agree that
Matt's ready to understand the context in which he'd use some other classes,
either in the technology or in some other aspect of pubs or pubs management.

You can do a decent job as a technical writer with not a whole lot of
training. The problem is what you do then. You CAN learn the industry solely
from the inside, which is the way a lot of us old-timers learned (because that
was the only way to learn it at the time), but you get more perspective, I
think, if you at least sit in on classes offered by people who teach
college-level classes about publications.

There are a lot of technical writers who see what they do as creating manuals
and equivalent documents, and don't see the relevance to their jobs of Help
systems or intranets or any other electronic forms of communicating
information. There are even more who think mostly in idioms related to manuals
and Help systems, and don't understand how technical communications is actually
only one variation on information systems as a whole, and that the trend is
toward dealing with systems, rather than pieces of the solution.

My opinion: Matt needs his horizons broadened. Almost any way he does it is
sure to be of benefit.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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