Re: Background

Subject: Re: Background
From: Killer of Trees <lemay -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 13:44:22 -0800

> One of our minimum qualifications for the Sr. Technical Writer position
> is coursework in a programming language such as PASCAL, C, or C++. Extra
> programming experience or a Computer Science degree really grabs our

> As you might expect, nearly all the resumes and candidates we interview
> fall into these categories:

> o Technically strong, weak technical writing
> o Strong technical writing, technically weak in programming concepts

> Do you have any suggestions that might help us judge candidates? Are
> we being too stringent? Both writers in the group have English/Journalism
> degree with Computer Science minors and the learning curve for new features
> is still very steep.

Congratulations, you are trying to find the rarest form of technical
writer. I once estimated that when looking for highly technical
technical writers that one out of 50 resumes were worth following
up with and 1 out of two writers interviewed were worth hiring. Its
not a lot of fun.

I'd ask, hoever, why you require *coursework* in a programming language.
How is having taken a course better than, say, teaching oneself that
language using books and hacking around with it? Under your minimum
requirements, I woulnd't qualify, but I have taught myself C, C++,
smalltalk, scheme, PostScript and now HTML/SGML with no coursework

I'd ask instead for "ability to program in a language such as C, C++
or Pascal." It you have doubts about thier abilites ask them a simple
programming question. Write a routine to insert an element into a linked
list-- that kind of question.

Good luck in your search.


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