Re: Question: Market for Technical Writing

Subject: Re: Question: Market for Technical Writing
From: Suzette Seveny <sseveny -at- PETVALU -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 14:54:51 -0400

I need to agree with you Melissa. While not an English major, understanding
style, sentence structure, grammar rules, etc. is a very important aspect of my
job. I am also a technical person though, with a solid background in systems
and software analysis, and training. Without the systems experience, I believe
I would find it very difficult to document software to the extent that I do.

Having a training background helps me to understand how we, as adults, learn.
There are many learning styles - some people learn by reading, some learn by
example, some learn by doing. I try to include all of these styles in my
manuals. I also include reference material, understanding that the more
advanced user will turn to the manual for specific information.

My opinion of someone with strong language skills and an aptitude for
computers, is that they would probably make an excellent technical writer. A
part-time course on technical writing at a local community college would not go
amiss, and checking out the mentoring program at the local STC chapter would
give her a good idea as to whether or not she would enjoy the job. Like every
other type of profession, this one has its ups and downs and can quite often
become boring, repetitive and mundane. I guess it all depends on why she is
dissatisfied in her current job.

While I understand that quite a few people look at this profession as
"something really neat to try" without fully appreciating the scope of the job
and the skills required, I don't think it's quite the same as wanting to try
piloting a shuttlecraft :-)

If she feels she might like this type of job, she needs to do a bit of
research, and check it out fully before jumping in. After deciding that she
would really like it though - why not? Go for it.

Suzette Seveny
Markham, Ontario, Canada
sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com or suzette -at- yesic -dot- com
Any opinions expressed are MY opinions.
Feel free to have your own.
Let's agree to disagree
But Please - Don't Flame Me.

Work is a fine thing --
If it doesn't take too much of your spare time.

On Thursday, June 24, 1999 2:23 PM, Melissa Morgan
[SMTP:mmorgan -at- INTREPID -dot- CDG-HARGRAY -dot- COM] wrote:
> Well, I'm not sure I fully agree with what Tony is promoting. It seems
> to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that this issue is not as simple as
> it might seem. I have a B.A. in English, and I have also worked as a
> lab technician in a steel foundry, writing ISO procedures for complex
> physical and chemical tests. I am currently a technical writer for a
> software company. I really do not feel like I fit either of the molds that
> Tony describes, because I feel that my success in creating 'good'
> documentation depends on my ability to integrate the two approaches.
> I value good grammar and sentence structure, but realize that aspect
> is rather useless if the document is technically inaccurate.
> Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I crazy for thinking it's possible
> to function on both levels, simultaneously?

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