RE: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?

Subject: RE: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: ehladky -at- cosmocom -dot- com, tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 09:59:14 PST

Tony Markatos wrote:

The primary thing that a TW has to do is to determine the essential
end-user tasks [and individual steps] accomplished with the product and how all of those interrelate.

You may have to know some stuff about technology; however, that is
secondary. (In fact, a pretty good manual can often be written without any knowledge of the technology employed.)

Ellen Hladky responds:

It might be true if you're documenting a simple graphic user interface. Maybe then you don't need to understand the operating system.

But if you're documenting a system that requires installation,
configuration, and various forms of integration with other systems, then you're not doing your readers any justice if you don't understand the technology.

Tony Markatos responds:

In, for example, creating installation & configuration instructions, the primary thing that a TW has to do is gain a rigorous understanding of the essential tasks (and their individual steps) that must be accomplished to install and configure the product. Here, the end-user is the installer - not the ultimate product end-user. This makes no difference in terms of the job-at-hand for the TW. The same applies to any other form of documentation.

Elleh Hladky said:

Technical Writer is NOT a poor name for our career field.....

Tony Markatos responds:

It is in that it completely misses the boat as to what the main thing a TW does.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)



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