RE: "not technical enough"

Subject: RE: "not technical enough"
From: rebecca rachmany <rebecca -at- COMMERCEMIND -dot- com>
To: 'Jane' <judydh -at- total -dot- net>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 08:49:41 +0200

>I've often gotten the
>feedback that I "wasn't technical enough".
>In the context of technical writing as the job, what the hell does that
>Please interpret pointy-haired manager speak?


This is not pointy-haired-manager-speak, this is geek-speak. (One might
construe that your inability to differentiate already makes you "not
technical enough" <g>.)

Technical writing requires you to document technical subjects. If you have
some background in the technologies being documented, you will be able to do
the job better in the following ways:

1. You will save SME time because you don't have to ask basic
technology questions.
2. You will be able to identify illogical functionality in system
specs and in system performance.
3. You will be better able to organize large quantities of highly
technical material.
4. You will have better research skills. (I hate to admit it, but it
is true that the exact
sciences graduates simply have better reasoning, organizational
and research skills
than the social sciences and liberal arts majors. It has to do
with training, not intelligence.)

Some geeks are of the opinion that non-geeks can never grasp technical
concepts or can never acquire these skills. As a history major, I completely
disagree. (Though I admit to having taken a lot of math courses and to being
a geek myself.) You can acquire technical skills and you can become more
technical. I have always felt that the most useful course I took in college
was a course in computer programming, because it taught me to think in a
linear and logical way, something which is a great asset for a writer. It
also gave me some geek credentials, so I highly recommend that you do such a
course, particularly if you are finding that this is a repeated obstacle.

I don't like to tell people they aren't technical enough, but it is the most
common reason I do turn people down for a job. My experience has taught me
that technical background is an important success factor in many (not all)
technical writing positions. Probably most of the potential employers are
justified in making this assessment. It is big of them to be honest with you
about it; now you can take steps to overcome this obstacle.

Rebecca Rachmany
PO Box 920, Kfar Saba 44109
972-9-7642000 x217
Mobile: 050-900600
rebecca -at- commercemind -dot- com

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