Answers by Ms. Jocelyn Clapper
I dont think being an expert technical writer is necessary where I work but one at least has to know the basics. I have to communicate with our sales team daily about production requirements, how much oil they need, how much we can produce, and this is all done by e-mail and conference calls. Also, submitting capital projects requires some technical writing skills since you have to write coverletters when you ask for money and have to show payback calculations. I know it really helps to be a good writer when asking for funding because if you can explain why the money will be used for a really good idea then it will more often get approved than if a coverletter didn't give a good description of what the project is, and nice graphs, tables, and calculations always help. I also have to write procedures (e.g. shutting down the plant to keep it offline for a few days). Again, being an expert writer isn't necessary but one at least has to be understandable. I do think the technical writing courses I took in college were useful in showing me how to properly put tables into a document that many important people will see, and also just how to write professionally. I hope this helps.