Purpose A Report about how Computer Science Professionals write and the Kind of Writing Support they Use
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Purpose:A Report about how Computer Science Professionals write and the Kindof Writing Support they Use
Recipient:Manager Mary Hedengren
Computerscience is a challenging field of study and work. This is because ofthe technical aspect of this field, which experts have to break downfor people without background knowledge in this field to understand.Therefore, communication is a vital skill for both computer sciencestudents and professionals. This is because good writing skills canhelp them explain the technical terms and solutions they offer totheir clients in the industry. They also have to create caseapproaches used in designing a product and give clear instructions onusers regarding the usage of certain programs through clearinstructions. The field of computer science has numerousprofessionals, and the number continues to grow each year. Many ofthese professionals would welcome any support to help them improvetheir writing skills I this technical field to enhance the clarity ofthe information they give to their users.
Themain challenges in this field exist in the form of poor writingskills due to the concepts involved. A scientific infusion into thewriting skills of these professionals can improve the presentation ofinformation to users of the different computer hardware and software.Therefore, BizCommCorp can provide the needed support to this groupof professionals to help them become better writers. This can be donethrough consultative sessions, conferences, and workshops.
Computerscience is a broad field that comprises of professionals in areassuch as programming, database administration, software engineeringand hardware specialists among others. This presents a huge marketfor BizCommCorp given the high number of existing professionals andnew entrants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), 1.1million jobs were held by software developers in 2014.1The following figureshows different industries and the percentages of software developersthey employed:
U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics". Bls.Gov.
Thechallenges existing among the computer science professionals beginwhile they are studying in colleges and universities. Researchstudies indicate that in most science and engineering curricula, theimportance of writing is not recognized. This can be linked to thecontext that faculties dealing with technical curricula feel thatwriting skills should be handled in general education faculties, orthat they are incompetent to teach writing skills. Again, technicalstudents have more challenges in writing than humanities students,and that makes them feel as if writing is not important, which makesthem concentrate more on symbolic expressions and less on developinglanguage skills. In addition, areas of expertise such as programmingand software development involve constant interaction with machines.This may crowd out the development of communication skills, which maylead these students to short-change the writing aspect of education.These students graduate from their respective faculties withtechnical knowledge in their areas of study but devoid of languageand basic communication skills.
Theyenter the job market with writing challenges, which makes itdifficult for them to communicate the technical aspects of theirfields of specialization to their clients. According to Kevorkian,Meline, and Gregory Simco (2015),professional expression pools scientific writing and criticalthinking in the field of computer science.2This means that most computer professionals today do not haveprofessional expression because they lack scientific writing skills.The process of imparting them with the necessary technical writingshould start while they are still in school. This can make thembetter prepared to handle the communication needs of their jobs whenthey become professionals.
Kevorkian,Meline, and Simco (2015)further note that, giving professional expression support toprofessionals in the field of computer science enhances theircommunication skills.3 The number of fresh graduates are rising year-after-year. Thisimplies that the number of computer science professionals who needtechnical writing support is growing annually. Tapping into thismarket can be a huge advantage of BizCommCorp because the clientelebase is massive and expanding.
Theextent of the writing challenges faced by professionals in the fieldof computer science is evident through the small number ofresearchers in the field. Figure2below shows the percentage change in computer and informationresearch scientists between 2014 and 2024.
Csorny,U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Bls.Gov.
Theprojected growth is huge. Thus, there is the need for theseprofessionals to possess the necessary technical writing skills.Moreover, it is hard for users of the various computer programs tounderstand some articles because of their technicality. Technicalwriting is, therefore, a scientific writing technique that computerscience professionals should adopt to ensure that they give clear andconcise descriptions, explanations and instructions to differentusers. Good technical writing is clear, accurate, appropriate andcoherent and most professionals in the field of computer science needthese qualities. These qualities of writing are difficult to achievein most fields of science and technology. These fields often dependheavily on specialized concepts and terminologies and makewide-ranging application of graphics and numbers. Nevertheless, theyae supposed to ensure that there are no hidden meanings in theirwritings to make it simple for the audience to understand. I did someresearch and interviewed my brother (a database administrator) togain more insights into the kind of support that computer scienceprofessionals use or need. The next section is a presentation of thefindings.
Theinterview was a success, and through it, I was able to gather moreinformation regarding the challenges faced by computer scienceprofessionals and the kind of support they use. According to mybrother, Sharad Bhusal, during his undergraduate studies, his facultyrequired students to take a writing course in a different faculty,and the assignments were due on a weekly basis. He highlighted thatthis compulsory requirement is the one that prepared him for hiscareer.
Heexpressed that writing is paramount in his field of expertise. Thisis because technology projects require collaborative efforts betweenpeople in different locations and that necessitates the possession ofsuperior communication skills, besides the fact that huge projectsrequire clear and concise writing. According to him, "working onmassive projects requires simplifying it into sections for differentpersonnel to execute, and that needs clarity of vision and gooddocumentation."4Writing in the technology industry goes beyond the simple aspect ofcommunicating ideas. It should be effective and must be accompaniedby effective coding.
Theability of tech professionals to write takes different forms. Theseforms range from a simple list too PowerPoint presentations. However,despite the medium used for communication, the bottom line is tocommunicate the idea with the desired power, clarity and with a tonethat people recognize and comprehend. According to Bhusal, the only40% of experts in his field have the ability to write and communicateeffectively.5This is represented in figure3below.
Furthermore,Bhusal clarified that those who do not have effective writing skillshave many difficulties when working on projects that require reportsor any other form of writing. He expressed that most of them findresearch assistants whom they can pay to do the writing for them.This is a usual phenomenon in the tech field today. He stated thateven most blogs that offer tech-related advice or instructions on howto use or install hardware and software in computers are ran bypeople who pay others to write the articles. My understanding was thekind of support that is available to computer science professionalsis research assistants who work for money.
Further,he indicated that most of these experts complain about the exorbitantfees that these research assistants charge for writing the articles.In the same way, they express their remorse for not having takentheir time in school to learn about writing. Therefore, this meansthat these professionals can welcome any support that can help thembecome effective technical writers, which can also save them money.Bhusal noted that most computer professionals do not pay attention towriting, yet writing is their main output. The output includesresearch papers, source codes and documentation for software that isintended to be used by people. Figure 5 below shows the predictedreception of technical writings support.
Thisshows that there is a significant proportion of computer scienceprofessionals willing to be helped to improve their writing skills.This can help them deliver more and informative articles to theirreaders or offer more technical support than when they use researchassistants to write for them. This is a considerable population, andthose opposed would gain interest after they witness the positiveimpact of the support to their counterparts.
Inaddition, my brother was able to offer advice to students takingtheir undergraduate studies in the science and technology sectors.According to him, students should take advantage of the years thatthey are in school because they may not have such an opportunity tolearn basic skills such as language and writing. Therefore, giventhat their the tech and science faculties do not offer languagecourses, students should take the initiative to enroll in thosecourses in other faculties within the school or in different schoolsfor them to acquire knowledge and skills related to writing, which isan indispensable aspect of their areas of expertise.
Inlight of the findings gathered from the interview, it is clear thatprofessionals in the tech industry, particularly computer scienceface numerous hurdles that affect their writing skills. Most of themregret having not utilized their undergraduate years to improve theirwriting skills. They depend on research assistants to work on reportson their behalf at a fee. A significant proportion of them wouldwelcome support services that can help improve their technicalwriting skills to enhance their communication with their audience.Therefore, this section gives the recommended services to this groupof professionals. Computer science professionals can benefit fromconsultative meetings, conferences, and workshops. This can be agateway to helping students to perfect their writing skills beforethey enter the job market.
Face-to-faceconsultations can be a great source of help. The professionals canmeet with specialists on a timed basis where their concerns areaddressed and where they can be given guidelines. BizCommCorp willthese services at normal rates to encourage many professionals toregister.
Workshopscan go a long way into improving the technical writing skills forcomputer science professionals. These professionals lack time todevelop or improve their skills and that is why they pay researchassistants to do the writing on their behalf. Organizing workshopsfor this community can produce significant benefits. Workshops canprovide the ideal platform in which the professionals can feel atease to exchange ideas among themselves and with the writing experts.Through these workshops, peer review groups can be formed toencourage feedback among themselves so that they can identify areasof weakness and improve according to their peers’ recommendations.These workshops can be organized once in a fortnight or at theconvenience for the professionals.
Conferencesare an ideal mode of passing information or training a group ofpeople on a particular subject. Computer science professionals willbe motivated to attend conferences where they can get tips on thebest practices in technical writing. They will be asked to writeregularly to ensure that they become accustomed to it so that theycan become better writers. Through this, they will develop thenecessary skills to help them to write in a clear and concise mannerfor the readers to understand without difficulties.
Itis certain that computer science professionals present a significantmarket that can be tapped into by BizCommCorp. They can be offeredtechnical writing skills to enable them to override the challengesthat they face. This can be done through workshops, conferences andconsultative meetings to give them tips and guidelines to help themimprove their writing skills.
BLS,2015. "Computer And Information Technology Occupations :Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics".Bls.Gov.https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm.
Csorny,Lauren. 2013. "Careers In The Growing Field Of InformationTechnology Services : Beyond The Numbers: U.S. Bureau Of LaborStatistics". Bls.Gov.https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/careers-in-growing-field-of-information-technology-services.htm.
Kevorkian,Meline, and Gregory Simco. "Improving Technical Writing throughProfessional Expression Exercises in a Computer Science GraduateProgram." In Proceedingsof the International Conference on Frontiers in Education: ComputerScience and Computer Engineering (FECS),p. 187. The Steering Committee of The World Congress in ComputerScience, Computer Engineering and Applied Computing (WorldComp),2015.
SharadBhusal. Interview responses
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Bls.Gov.
2 Kevorkian, Meline, and Gregory Simco. "Improving Technical Writing through Professional Expression Exercises in a Computer Science Graduate Program
3 Kevorkian, Meline, and Gregory Simco. "Improving Technical Writing through Professional Expression Exercises in a Computer Science Graduate Program
4 Sharad Bhusal. Interview responses
5 Sharad Bhusal. Interview responses
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