Re: Programming???

Subject: Re: Programming???
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 07:33:09 -0500

No, there aren't, and that's one reason why so many employers want one. I
began programming as a hobby with BASIC in the 80s, then learned the
rudiments of Pascal and C. Never enough to earn a living at it, but more
than enough to speak the language of the programmer. Later I learned VBA,
Word's macro language, JavaScript, and now Python. And if snuggling closer
to our SMEs what this is about, then I say "Good...learn at least one
language, preferably object-oriented, just so you can sling the lingo." It
makes life on the job so much easier when you hear a programmer say "And
then the file's dirty..." and you know what he's talking about without
asking loads of unnecessary questions. As a bonus, you can start speeding up
your own operations with macros, scripts, and even the occasional DLL if
you're fearless enough.

That said, there are surprising numbers of employers who think it's a tech
writer's job to never bother the developers, but to extract operations from
the naked code. Sorry, won't happen. Modern apps are so long and involved
that nobody, not even the developers themselves, know what everything's
doing. Be sure to ask if that's what the employer expects. If so, leave

>Having recently changed careers from academia to tech
>writing and conducting my first tech writing job search, I'm
>amazed at how many jobs ask for programming experience. Is
>there really any significant number of tech writers who, in
>addition to the skills required to succeed even as a very
>technically oriented writer, know how to write C++ code?

Tim Altom
Adobe Certified Expert, Acrobat
Simply Written, Inc.
The FrameMaker support people
We train and consult on the Clustar Method
for single source documentation

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