RE: Programmer/Writer?

Subject: RE: Programmer/Writer?
From: Kevin Feeman <Kevin -dot- Feeman -at- micromass -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 15:07:04 -0400

> --- Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:
> >
> > I have noticed an increase in job listings for combination
> > Programmer/(Technical) Writers. As I understand it (please
> correct me if I
> > am wrong), these individuals write end user documentation
> directly off of
> > code.

I tried to keep my mouth shut during this discussion thread, but I can no
longer do so. The main thing that bothers me about this thread is that it is
sounding like some companies want technical writers to be good at
everything, including programming. IMHO, I believe that our profession does
not allow us to be jack of all trades. A person can be an awesome writer, or
an awesome programmer, but a person cannot be awesome at both. The written
word is a science and takes time, practice, and skill to be a good writer,
which cannot occur when one is programming, doing graphics, or what have
you. When I interviewed for this job, (as well as all interviews I went on
in the last several months) I made it extremely clear that I was a writer
first and foremost and that I had no interest in programming, graphics
(beyond basic screen shots), acting as a "note taker" in meetings, and the
like. I made it very clear that I wanted to write, and to be able to write
effectively, I only needed to know high level overviews of how the program
was designed, since I would be focusing primarily on the end user documents,
not programming documents. And guess what!?!?!?! It was this type of
attitude, where I wanted to focus on writing, that got me hired above the 10
other applicants that they interviewed. So, in short, I think that it really
depends on what you are wanting for your career, if ya want to be a
programmer, be a programmer, if ya want to be a writer, be a writer, ya
can't do both effectively.

Just my 2 cents worth, let the flames begin.

Kevin Feeman
Technical Publications Manager
MicroMass Communications Inc. <>
(919) 851-3182 Ext. 3105
kevin -dot- feeman -at- micromass -dot- com

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