Monthly Archives: May, 2013

My Top Tips to curb your Post Interview Anxiety

When I held Nisha’s hand with a vice like grip it was to stop her from biting her hands off.  No, not in the literal sense of course, but she was stressed enough to bite her non-existent finger nails to extinction. Reason? STRESS; yes the six letter horrible word that every employee these days is so well acquainted with.

The reasons and effects of STRESS have been spoken about ad-nauseum, that, I assure you this blog will not at all STRESS upon the word STRESS. So,“What exactly was Nisha so stressed about?” It turns out she attended an interview and she was waiting for the results. I groaned inwardly, shuddering at that memory. Who has not experienced the heart wrenching, stomach curdling, excruciatingly long, waiting period after you give an interview? (Yes, I am breaking every rule in the Technical writing book, writing wordy sentences, but this occasion demands these adjectives, believe me)

I abruptly left her, knowing this is going to be a very long discussion. Got a hot cuppa,came back to find her still fiddling with her ridiculously small hands. In a last bid to save her hands hastily I placed the cup in her palms.Enlivened she burst out saying “I have still not heard from them, what do I do?”  I automatically answered “You wait” , realized I am not really helping her, all the while thinking to myself: “How can we fast forward time?”, “How can we assuredly get things that we so desperately want?”  Most important, “How to teach ourselves to be patient and calm during such stressful situations?”

I have been through this before, why even Nisha has been through this before but the feeling never gets stale, it hits us in a wave and leaves us breathless. This waiting period is always hard, much harder than rejection. I personally feel getting rejected on the spot is far better than getting rejected after a week. At least you get to move on after the rejection, the hurt will be the same but it will heal faster, right?

On that note, my top tips for helping you through this hard period of waiting are: Continue reading →

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Why hiring a Software Engineer as a Technical Writer is a good idea?

Before you jump the gun let me clarify, I am not talking about all Software Engineers. I am talking about those Software Engineers who have a flair for writing and who want to shift base to technical writing. I am neither in any way implying that Technical Writers from other fields are not competent enough to be recruited.

My case in point is: when a Software Engineer is rejected for a Technical Writer position for lack of experience. Now that I am done with the clarification part, let me get back to:
Why I think a Software engineer’s experience must not be discounted on grounds of it being irrelevant to Technical Writing field? And why recruiting Software Engineer as a Technical Writer is a win-win situation for both the company and the aspiring Technical Writer?
Let me answer that question by showing you a very simple analysis.

Divide the Technical Writers and Software Engineers into two groups based on the development life cycles they follow.

Note: This analysis is limited to Technical Writers in Software field because honestly I know nothing about the good Technical Writers in other fields. And yes, I know, it’s my loss.

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a structured way to develop a Software Product. Every Software Engineer takes part in the SDLC of the product he is working on. Similarly Document Development Life Cycle (DDLC) is a structured way to develop the Software Documentation and every Technical Writer typically participates in the process. Wikipedia has detailed articles on both types of methodology for the uninitiated.
I have a flowchart that depicts the different stages of both development life cycles (Stage names courtesy: Wikipedia).

Development Lifecycle

Development Lifecycle

Do you notice that some stages of the development life cycles intersect? It has to, why? Because both the parties are working on the same software product.

Typically the developers and writers will be involved in similar stages throughout the life cycle. Developers and Technical Writers need to do the Requirement analysis, they need to design their implementation/documentation, and they need to maintain the code/document that they have worked so hard to create. The other similar tasks are Testing/editing, the code needs to be tested and the documentation needs to be edited. The code has to be deployed and the documentation has to be published. The only difference lies in the implementation part where a developer works on coding the product and the writer works hard to create the document.

Do you still think that a Software Engineer doesn’t have enough relevant experience to be a Technical Writer?
I rest my case on why i think hiring a Software Engineer as a Technical Writer is a good idea by showing this Pie chart created based on statistics given by field experts.

What Technical Writers do?

What Technical Writers do?

According to field experts a Technical Writer spends almost 50% of his time gathering requirements, 10% in designing the document, 20% in actual writing and the rest of the 20% in reviewing and publishing the document.

Considering these factors:

  • Aren’t Software Engineers almost 70% job ready as Technical Writers?
  • Should their Software Engineering experience be completely discounted?
  • Shouldn’t their Requirement gathering skills, Reviewing skills be considered before rejecting them on the basis of lack of relevant experience?

What do you think? Should the skills of Software Engineers be completely discounted? Can their experience be counted as relevant experience?
Brickbats or bouquets,do send it with your feedback and opinion.