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. _______________________________________________ You are currently subscribed to Framers as spolloc1 at hotmail.com. Send list messages to framers at lists.frameusers.com. To unsubscribe send a blank email to framers-unsubscribe at lists.frameusers.com or visit http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/spolloc1%40hotmail.com Send administrative questions to listadmin at frameusers.com. Visit http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.