Re: Value of Documentation (and Hot Spots)

Subject: Re: Value of Documentation (and Hot Spots)
From: Chuck Beck <cbeck -at- BGNET -dot- BGSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 12:25:35 -0400

I wasn't going to send this, but I had such a great experience a year or so
ago germane to this discussion that I felt I had to share it with you all.
Maybe someone will find it useful and/or encouraging.

I did my graduate student internship at a local factory developing training
materials for a "Pay-for-Knowledge" system they were implementing. This
company did not (and does not yet) have a tech pubs department. My co-intern
and I were their first experience with "professional" tech writers.

While I was there, the company had a shot at landing a MAJOR contract with
the city of Los Angelos. The city sent out a committee (to Ohio) to check
out the company I was working at. Among other things, they wanted to see the
documentation used by employees in the plant, both for training and for
production processes. We knew this was coming, and I had been given the task
of getting it done before they arrived.

In the end, the company won this contract--and all recognized it was at
least partly because of the documentation. I'm certainly not saying that my
documentation won them the contract--their product is a great one and
*that's* what won them the contract. But it is fairly safe to say that
*without* the documentation, they would *not* have won the contract. It was
a terrific lesson for me in the "value-added" aspect of my work.


BTW and FWIW, the Columbus area seems to be a pretty hot area for tech
writers, too. (Different thread, I know, but I just landed my first "real"
full-time tech writing job there, and all there seem to agree that there is
a near-zero unemployment rate for tech writers in Columbus, Ohio.)

Hoping this helps somebody...

Chuck Beck
cbeck -at- bgnet -dot- bgsu -dot- edu

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