RE: Baseline Skillset

Subject: RE: Baseline Skillset
From: kimber_miller -at- acs-inc -dot- com
To: <lavosk -at- wolfenet -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 12:52:06 -0600

[Kimber remarked:] Loretta asks:

Please tell me: What good is mastery of these baseline skills, if
employability hinges on one's familiarity with specific software

[Kimber remarked:] One is not employable without a baseline set of skills (what
ever those are that the employer has decided upon) *just* because of a mastery
of a tool. And there are levels of mastery. Our admin assistant knows Word and
Excel at an "Expert" level. She could not get hired as a TW right now without
knowing how to organize information on the page and in a manual (in our case)
based on solid understanding of information organization/design principles AND
an understanding of the technology.

Sometimes one's employability hinges on technical expertise and experience in a
technology arena, not only a mastery of a tool. I'm experienced with Word.
Doesn't mean I can get a job at NASA, although they may need Word experts,
because they need someone with experience in the aerospace industry *more* than
they need my experiece with a tool.

I'm not very experienced with Frame. If I applied for a job that required that I
immediately get to work cleaning up someone's mess to get the thing done by a
tight deadline, my expertise in Frame *really* matters to that client. They
might hire someone for that job with NO experience in their technology but who
was a wiz at FrameMaker because that wizardry is their most pressing need.

If the same company is not facing a crisis, I might stand a better chance at
employment there. I can always learn a tool relatively quickly, but it's taken
me years to gain the I-net security, telecommunications, and data management
experience that I have. If they need that industry experience more than they
need my skills with Frame, they may hire me--and give me the opportunity to
prove that I can learn the tool.

The company would probably NOT hire me if I had no understanding of ANY Desktop
Publishing (DTP) tool or computer literacy.

Loretta, the baseline skills are what's in your head and are evidenced by your
ability to apply and reason with them. The software is "just" a tool one uses to
execute the job at hand. Find employers who need your expertise more than they
need your mastery of the most advanced features of a program, and you can get
off to a great start. I was an editor and English teacher when I crossed the
Great Divide into technology. Not technical in the least. But my understanding
of learning theory and information organization got me a job supporting a
product, which lead to writing about the product, which lead to my happy
ensconsment (?) as a TW--with my "streak of geek" widening every time I upgrade
my Frankenstein computer at home or learn a new technology here at work.

BTW--anyone planning to promote him/herself as a telecommuter, had *better* know
how the box and periferals work and how to fix them if they break, or have a
serious support backup waiting to come to the rescue.

Okay, that's it. I'm done.

Enjoy the afternoon.

It's finally winter in Dallas!


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