Re: Am I qualified to become an entry-level tech communicator?

Subject: Re: Am I qualified to become an entry-level tech communicator?
From: Andy Dugas <adugas -at- NAVIS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 09:57:48 -0800

You have a great, almost extreme, foundation for being a TW: all the right
tools, interpersonal skills, technical knowledge, etc. In those terms, you
are certainly more prepared than I (and many, many other TWs, I'd wager)
when I entered this area.

But can you write? Can you analyze raw information and organize it into a
comprehensible package? Can you communicate?

That is the question that raised doubts in your mind, but for some reason
you hardly address it in your post. You gloss over your writing experience
- your communicating experience - then rush back to your technical

Until you can answer that question - can I write? - all the DHTML, XML,
CSS, JavaScript, FrameMaker, PageMaker, Word, Excel 97, Allaire HomeSite
3.0, Dreamweaver, and Visual Basic 5.0 skills are quite beside the point
(though they'll certainly give you an edge in getting in the door).

Andrew Dugas
Navis Corp.
At 10:43 PM -0800 11/27/98, Robert Heath wrote:

> A number of days ago, one of the messages here ended with the quote "I
> can draw a cube! I'm an engineer!" and the author of the message wrote
> after it something like "For those who say, 'I can write a sentence!
> I'm a technical writer!'" The quote caused me to step back and look
> at my own qualifications as one attempting to become a technical
> communicator. Now I would like to know if, after reading about what I
> know and can do, any of you seasoned pros would tell me whether I am
> just shouting at employers, "I can draw a cube!" I'm not trying to
> post my resume; I'm only seeking advice.
> Currently, I am an English teacher in South Korea, winding up a
> two-year contract with a technical university in the city of Taejon. I
> have spent a total of four years in Taejon as a teacher, and I believe
> my interpersonal skills are now more than adequate to the task of
> interviewing engineers and others.
> For the past year, I have been learning and playing with HTML, and
> recently have learned the basics of DHTML, XML, CSS, and JavaScript. I
> have purchased and learned to use FrameMaker, PageMaker, Word and
> Excel 97, Allaire HomeSite 3.0, Dreamweaver, Visual Basic 5.0 (well,
> the rudiments of this one), and a couple of others.
> As for writing and publishing, I have written two pamphlets for my
> school with PageMaker, a short manual in FrameMaker (my first, and it
> is not very good; a review of it showed me how not to write a manual),
> and several technical memos explaining how to use Word 97 and
> PageMaker (I used FrameMaker and Word for them). I have also taught
> myself copyediting, basic publishing and computer terminology, and
> have read Technical Editing by Judith Tarutz.
> I have set up a web site which has DHTML photo album and several other
> DHTML and Javacript features, though nothing very advanced. I've also
> created an online portfolio with samples of my writing in PDF format.
> Finally, I have become a member of STC, joined several SIGs, read the
> magazine avidly.
> Have I done enough to be an entry-level technical communicator? If
> not, what else should I do or be doing?
> Robert Heath
> _________________________________________________________
> Get your free address at

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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