Re: Where did you get your feet wet?

Subject: Re: Where did you get your feet wet?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2005 20:38:49 +0800

Lisa H said:
> As an aside, I wonder how many writers in software documentation were
> former programmers who saw the light. Do let me know!

I was a mainframe application programmer for a few years. Liked it but wasn't particularly good at it.

Moved back to my home state, got a job with an ex-boss who'd left to start up a... uh, startup. There were three owner/directors. I was the first employee. I was going to do a bit of everything--coding, testing, first-line customer support, and all the user docs. Well, I never got to do any coding. No point. The two techie directors were super-productive programmers--each worth five good UNIX programmers and ten of me. I took the support calls, wrote a real manual to replace the placeholder manual they had before (WordPerfect for DOS running under a DOS emulator under UNIX on a PC). While I was doing that they developed a couple more products so I had to do manuals for those too (Word 6 on a 386--retch). Was dragged reluctantly into getting FrameMaker. More products, more manuals.

Bought books. Wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. Found alt.usage.english, which led to techwr-l (Thanks, Bev Parks), and once you're there, as Jerry Pournelle said in a different context, you're half-way to anywhere.

Fame... riches... happiness... it's all good, mate!

Stuart Burnfield


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