Mwahahaha! I’m finally recognized as relevant!
High-tech has a SERIOUS problem with language/documentation. I’ve been highly-desirable in my industry since I graduated because I do what most IT people don’t: documentation.
My motto: “You can lead an engineer to documentation, but you can’t make him read it.”
Good code is its own best documentation.
If you think that's hard, try to make an engineer write it for his last project when he is just begging to start the next one.
Last time I spoke to my pal a writer at the software company that exported my job to Bangalore, he told me that they were considering to outsource documentation writing to Singapore.
The old problem with software documentation is that it’s written by documentation writers, and not by the engineers who write the code, and are typically inarticulate, impatient and secretive when interviewed by the writers. In my career, writing code for internal use (by those same engineers, by the way) we wrote our own documentation, and it was better than any published docs I had ever seen, including the docs for use by the company customers. Our motivation was simple: we didn’t want to explain ourselves over and over again. RTFM was our usual answer.
I find it far harder to get engineers to PRODUCE documentation than reading it.
Ditt here. Documentation, training, and communicating with the end user.
Me toooooooo! Loved being an English major, reading books and writing book reports was a blast!
"You can lead an engineer to documentation, but you can't make him read it!" classic..
To be certain, we don't like to write stuff down. And reading docs is for wimps. "Hell, no, I didn't read it! Let's fire this baby up, and see what happens!!!!" :-)
However, I'd argue that it's hard to find an English major (recent grad) who can keep up with Engineers. They're certainly better than anything with "Studies" in it, because I'd assume that an English Major at least would be able to read and write English. "Studies" majors? Not so much.
So, if you're technical enough to hang with the geeks, and literate enough to communicate well....you're one of a rare breed, indeed. :-)