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Subject:Re: Breaking into the tech writing job market From:"Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> To:<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Wed, 9 Aug 2006 09:54:00 -0700
Most people are not "experts" in their fields, including developers.
Most companies I've worked for have had several people at the
lofty heights of the knowledge range doing advanced R&D which
was then filtered down to engineers and programmers who had
sufficient knowledge and skill to turn it into the final product.
When I was an engineer, I could not have explained to you the
deepest intricacies of metallurgy, yet I could design a metal gear
train. Tech writers do not need to be "experts" in the products
and technologies they write about, but they need to have (or be
able to acquire) sufficient knowledge of their end users' requirements,
of their products' capabilities to meet those requrements and of the
processes and procedures needed to successfully use the capabilities
to meet the requirements and the ability to relate them to the user.
That would be my definition of an "expert" technical writer.
I hold that you don't have to be an expert in the field that you're
writing about. All you need is a way to understand something (a patient
designer or engineer - whatever) and the ability to put it into
understandable words... Period! It's the command of the language that
you have to have.
A good technical writer does not need to have a degree in the field he
or she is writing about. I am proof. My music education degree taught me
very little about the alignment procedures of the stereo input module on
a mixing console, or how to find the satellite imagery for your weather
show. But I learned.