Adobe DITA World 2018
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New post in Simplifying Complexity series -- Principle 11: Be both a generalist and specialist through your technical acuity

by Tom Johnson on Nov 30, 2018
categories: simplifying-complexitystitcherpodcasts

In my Simplifying Complexity series, I added a new post called, Principle 11: Be both a generalist and specialist through your technical acuity. I also recorded this essay as a narrated podcast.

You can read the essay here: Principle 11: Be both a generalist and specialist through your technical acuity.

How exactly does the topic of being a generalist or specialist tie in with simplifying complexity? Here’s an excerpt:

Do technical writers, who are typically only familiar with the subjects we write about, need to become engineer-like specialists, focusing in on a couple of domains in depth, so that we can write, edit, and publish more knowledgeably in these domains? Is specialization the only way to handle complexity? Will I need to become a specialist to survive as a technical writer in the future?

Note that this content has undergone multiple iterations:

In this third version, I expanded the research in places, provided better organization in my analysis, and tried to integrate some more personal stories in places. I also narrated it as a podcast. Overall, this still remains a challenging topic, and the length of the article probably shows.

Also, if you’re viewing the essay on my Simplifying Complexity site, you’ll notice that I increased the font a bit. I don’t know if my eyesight is getting worse or what, but while reading it I kept squinting and decided to simply make the text more readable.

I feel like I’ve let this essay occupy quite a bit of attention on my blog lately. With each iteration, I’ve gathered feedback from you through surveys and used the information to write the next version. I don’t always push content through multiple revisions like this. Many blog posts are one-and-done efforts. But this particular topic has been the focus of multiple presentations this year, so it receives continual attention and improvements.

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