Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG

Subject: Re: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 14:54:59 -0500

Last round on this one from my end...

From: Wing, Michael J[SMTP:mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, May 31, 1996 2:10 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L; Bill Bledsoe
Subject: RE: Programming Tools -- How Prevalent Are They? - LONG

Mike says:
No I haven't. I am not equivocating the qualities, I am saying that one
skill compliments the other. If aptitude is the ability to learn then
experience provides the material with which aptitude is fulfilled. You
seemed to imply that aptitude is all that was necessary but
knowledge/experience is "neither here-nor-there". I say they are both
required. A pilot has the ability/aptitude to fly a plane but does not
fly until he/she actually takes off. How the pilot develops their
flight skills from that point on is due to experience.

I don't actually have to fly the plane to tell someone how to do it do I?
We'd have no pilots then Mike
because they'd all be busy writing the manuals to teach people how to fly!
I don't discredit experience.

What I do discredit is the thought that the only way to communicate
something is to have done it yourself. That is not true.

How much further then will experience and skills past nominal "writer
skills" take you?

You missed my point. I do not advocate Tech Comms hole-up and ignore
technology, new skills, etc. If they do, they'll get lapped. What I am
saying is that you cannot ignore those "nominal writer skills" since that
is still the core of Technical Communication.

>>>Most engineers do not have the education/training to communicate
>>>visually, to >design documents for easy scanning, high retention and
>>>flatter, less confusing >hierarchies.

>Another stereotype
>but true I'm afraid. When was the last time you saw a CS student in a
>communication theory class... or a document design class? Or for that
>matter, in a professional seminar about Usability (although this is
>changing a bit.)

This you would have to prove. My last experience in seeing a CS student
in a comm. class adds no more validity to a blanket statement such as
"All engineers ..." than your own personal observations.

Not to split hairs, but notice the word MOST. Not the substitute ALL that
you placed in the in your reference.

It does apply Mike. Just as much as it would if I started whipping out
Objects with all disregard for Booch/Rumbaugh/Jacobson and other
methodologies and principles, a good communicator will know about McLuhan
and other communication methodologists. Come on Mike, this is playing
right into your background point. You should love this stuff. You can't
possibly believe that someone who's trained in effective communication
skills could develop an application as well as someone who's trained in
effective development skills... Why then would you continue to purport that
the opposite is true?

>> "I have seen too many engineers turned tech comms who couldn't
>communicate their way out of a wet paper bag",

>I am simply reporting my experience from my little slice of the world.
> Take it as a stereotype if you wish. To further complicate things, I
>have also seen tech comm's who need a little help understanding the basic
>functionality of the Windows interface too. Again, be careful to judge
>one's attitude by the little slice you get in an email from some dark
>corner of the earth.

I wouldn't jump to these conclusions if you did not provide me the
trampoline :).

No problem... hope you enjoyed the "bouncing" as my buddy Tigger would


Bill b.

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