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Subject:RE: This from the NWU From:"Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 10 Mar 2004 12:32:08 -0800
Well put, Bill. I just wrote this up on my weblog, but figured I'd
repeat it here:
I'm confident that offshoring will continue to grow. The costs savings
obviously outweigh any downside in terms of decreased quality or
increased administration. Fellow list member Bill Swallow says it better
than I can:
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Run-of-the-mill tech writing is
easily outsourced, as is most programming, testing, and the like. We're
the factory workers of the 21st century; if you can build a process out
of a series of tasks and enforce standardization, you have yourself the
means of automating much of what you do and can outsource the rest
wherever you'd like. Don't believe me? Look at the dynamic shift in how
Tech Writers work and the tasks they generally perform over the past 50
years. We leapt from pencil-wielding authors to electron-spinning
jack-of-all-trades in that time span. Change is inevitable, and money
So, what's a tech writer to do? I'm not really a tech writer anymore. I
am occasionally, but these days I do far more work in marketing. Why?
It's more interesting. Also, marketing is much harder to outsource.
Generally it requires cultural savvy, business knowledge and intimate
awareness of market forces. These are difficult to acquire from India or
Generally, I advise technical writers to diversify as much as possible.
In addition to their core writing and editing competencies, every tech
writer should be able to:
* Build a decent-looking Web site
* Design professional-quality marketing collateral
* Write effective advertising/marketing content
* Meaningfully contribute to user-interface design (I'm not talking
spelling mistakes here--read some books and apply what you learn)
* Review code, and have a general sense of what it does (this
extends to being able to write an API guide based on that code)
* Understand and competently discuss your company's business
In short, as a technical writer, you should be able to write, design,
publish and manage all of the written materials for a company. That's
going to make you a lot more indispensable to an employer. Cheers. DB.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-149771 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-149771 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf
> Of Bill Swallow
> Sent: March 9, 2004 3:33 PM
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: RE: This from the NWU
> This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Run-of-the-mill tech
> writing is easily outsourced, as is most programming,
> testing, and the like. We're the factory workers of the 21st
> century; if you can build a process out of a series of tasks
> and enforce standardization, you have yourself the means of
> automating much of what you do and can outsource the rest
> wherever you'd like.
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