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Old 18.09.2004, 12:31   #1
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Question Selection Criteria of Technical Writer

Originated by Gururaj - a very famous indian TW- GURU...

---------------------------
One of Mark Twain's quotations reads, "A man cannot be comfortable without
his own approval." He said it right, didn't he?

Alexandre Dumas said, "All generalizations are dangerous, even this one."
Ain't it nice?

It is important that technical communicators use their common sense in
addition to their writing/language skills. Nevertheless, I believe that a
technical communicator's ability to simplify end users' experience and
explicate technical concepts would be of tremendous value to product and
technology companies. Yes. Written communication is one of the
prerequisites; however, it is the most important requirement. It's like the
foundation of a house. If the foundation is not stable, the whole house will
collapse. If you are looking for a technical writer to write product
documentation, you need a person that can apply his or her common sense and
knowledge effectively to the whole exercise. You do not need a person for
research projects (read IISc, IIT, BARC, and so on), do you?

Consider the following hypothetical scenarios:

(a) If you want the technical writer to write product documentation, here is
what you must look for.
Writing + Practical Judgment = Technical Documentation (I'm referring to
product manuals, installation guides, online help systems, man pages,
release notes, and various other run-of-the-mill deliverables)

(b) If you want the technical writer to write API documentation or debugging
documentation, here is what you must look for.
Writing + Practical Judgment + Programming Knowledge = Technical
Documentation

It is extremely difficult to get a person that meets (b). Why? It is for a
simple reason that people with (b) skills are already working as technical
writers in good software companies.

Herbert A. Otto said: "Change and growth take place when a person has risked
himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life."
People *may* not want to experiment with their careers when they already
have good jobs. Considering this fact, you need to look for people that fall
into the former category - (a).

Look for a person that likes the job and demonstrates eagerness to learn new
things.

Cheers
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