Re: "not technical enough"

Subject: Re: "not technical enough"
From: "Tammy Schroeder" <tschroed -at- wctc -dot- net>
To: "Elizabeth Ross" <beth -at- vcubed -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 19:46:25 -0500

A good point, Elizabeth, but I don't think it's a very limited segment of
the industry since many technical writers write for end users.

I guess the conclusion is that it depends on the type of audience the
employees will be writing for. I do not think that a lack of technical
training means you can't understand and explain products to nontechnical
users. I have also written service manuals for service technicians, and I
never found that I could not write a document because I didn't have a
technical background. Careful investigation and planning and a good list of
questions helped me and my coworkers avoid pitfalls, and we learned quite a
bit on the job.

However, I agree that technical writers who write for design engineers,
programmers, and other technical professionals need a technical background.
I just hate to see capable technical writers turned down when the audience
is not technical.

Thanks to all of you who pointed out the need for a technical background for
some tech writing positions.

> That's only true if you are employed as a technical writer in a limited
> segment of the industry. I am a technical writer. The manuals I write are
> for design engineers who are using our chips in their own designs. I would
> be up the proverbial creek without a paddle if I lacked technical ability.
> In my opinion, one of the critical abilities of a technical writer must be
> the ability to understand technical material. If you can't explain it, you
> don't understand it. If you don't understand it, you can't explain it.
> (Apologies to Albert Einstein).

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