Re: Presentation software

Subject: Re: Presentation software
From: Denise Fritch <dfritch -at- INTELLICORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 14:46:59 -0700

> . . . . Our program
> didn't teach how to use any applications. They did require us to use a
> word processor, presentation software, etc., but we learned that on our
> own. That, in my opinion, is the way to go. Let the people who teach
> computer programs (the campus computer center for example) teach
> computer programs to TC students and save the TC faculty for teaching
> technical communication.

I suspect there are a couple of "problems" that will limit such an approach
Steve. The first problem comes from people such as the headhunter (or local
industry pubs people) who identify skills in terms of specific software. The
schools then teach publication design in terms of how to design a
publication using Word. Or, manuals produced using FrameMaker. The second
problem would be discounted software to students. If you are a student with
limited funds and can purchase a major brand software at a discount through
the school, you end up learning that software because the software is what
you could afford.

> Personally, I try to stay away from jobs that require a specific
> application knowledge. I want to be hired because I can write and edit,
> not because I have worked my way through a course or book on a specific
> application.

I believe most tech writers would agree. Yet, we in the tech writing
industry certainly don't practice the principle of hiring for skills, not
specific software tool knowledge. When I was job hunting a year ago, I
certainly don't remember a single ad seeking a tech writer experienced in
designing and writing a manual, or a help system, from scratch. All the ads
specified candidates who were skilled Word, expert FrameMaker, or
knowledgeable RoboHELP users. When we hire, we stress the tools not the
skills. We look for tools first, then evaluate the candidate's skills. Even
headhunters, being given those same tool buzzwords will search a resume for
words, rather then view the overall skills of the candidate.


Denise L. Fritch

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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