I've written documentation in the Detroit area for over 20 years and
although I know structured Frame and use a custom XML format with Epic
Editor/Manager in my present position, I find that most employers here
hardly know what FrameMaker is, let alone anything about structured Frame
and/or XML/reuse. Time and time again I see jobs that require only a basic
knowledge of Ms Office, and I ignore them because I don't think these
employers take documentation seriously. Admittedly, Detroit is in bad shape
these days, but from my side of the tracks I see few employers who require
Frame experience of any kind.

My advice is not to worry about attaining Frame guruhood. Instead, diversify
into training, biomedical, and other areas that will give you an edge when
most tech writing jobs have gone to India. Learn Adobe Flash and Captivate
to support those self-paced and instructor-led job opportunities that seem
to be floating our way; take Instructional Design courses. 

It may be a slow boat, but outsourcing IS headed your way; the company I now
work for requires that we seek out tech writers in India, even though I'm
told that universities there don't offer much in the necessary education.
All we can do is hope that those of us with the company for years aren't
canned to benefit the next IPO. Sorry for the dire forecast, but the East
and West coasts can't be far behind.

--Sean Pollock

-----Original Message-----
From: framers-bounces+spolloc1=hotmail....@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces+spolloc1=hotmail.com at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf
Of russ at weststreetconsulting.com
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 12:19 PM
To: Randall C. Reed
Cc: framers at lists.frameusers.com
Subject: RE: Reasons to structure

If you work for a company that doesn't accept qualified recommendations for
improvement from its staff, you should keep a resume up-to-date. No company
can last too long if it doesn't embrace innovation from the lower levels.

I think the truth is, actually, that in the majority of cases, tech writers
are not qualified to proselytize on structure, because they haven't really
learned about it yet. Hence my original point, several postings ago. You
have to understand it to present a convincing business case (show them the
money, as it were).  In the past several years, I've had relatively little
difficulty getting acceptance from management for new tools, methods, etc.,
because I understand the benefits and can clearly enumerate the reasons for
doing it.

I would like all tech writers to be this way, because I don't want us to be
second class in the arena of ideas. When it comes to tools and methods
involved with our work, we should be the primary influence on what happens.
The key is, though, we need to know what we are talking about first. So I
say, get in there and learn. I don't believe for a second that there are
only a select few of us that can understand simple tools like structured
Frame. You just need to have the desire and understanding of how important
it is. 

 -------- Original Message --------
Subject:  RE: Reasons to structure
From: "Randall C. Reed" <randall.r...@forceprotection.net>
Date: Thu, February 15, 2007 9:11 am
To: <russ at weststreetconsulting.com>,<framers at lists.frameusers.com>

Russ West says: "It is so important for any tech writer to learn about
structured content..."

The funny thing is, in the majority of cases, we are not in a position
to proselytize for or against structured documentation. That's usually
decided several pay grades higher by contract deliverable or other
edict. We rarely. If ever, get to choose or even recommend! But a TW who
wishes to remain employable should be able to respond to structured or
unstructured requirements by being able to work in both. The general
trend in technical publishing, I predict (duh!), will require more
automation, more reusability, more interchangeability of data, not less.
If I had to bet on a winner in that horse race, my money would be on
more structured documentation, not less, in our collective future.


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