Are you really a tech writer? Take this quiz!

See the source imagePerhaps you’re just starting out in this profession and are not completely sure if it’s for you. Maybe you’ve been a tech writer for many years and it just doesn’t have the same romance that it did when you started. Maybe you have nothing better to do with your time than read insane articles like these.

Whatever the case, here is a foolproof quiz that will determine, once and for all, whether you really are a technical writer, or just a pale imitation of one.

Answer each question carefully. Tally up your score, and the truth will be revealed.

Note: For some questions, more than one answer may be correct!

1. A technical writer is someone who:
a) creates documentation that people actually use
b) is dead sexy and brilliant beyond compare
c) makes the world’s third best tuna sandwiches

2. If I see a typo on a restaurant menu, I:
a) politely indicate it to the manager
b) am so upset I can’t eat for two whole minutes
c) burn the restaurant down

3. The personal documents I’ve created include:
a) a written last will and testament
b) a written mission statement
c) documents that document the documentation process of the above documents

4. Adobe is:
a) a large software corporation
b) a member of the axis of evil
c) one of the lost Indian tribes, the others being Apache and Ojibwa

5. FrameMaker is:
a) a tool for creating solid documents
b) a tool for framing innocent people
c) proof that Adobe developers regularly smoke crack

6. PDF stands for:
a) Portable Document Format
b) Pretty Dumb File
c) Pathetically Dreadful Fonts

7. Thorough knowledge of English is important because:
a) English has many complex rules and subtleties
b) it is spoken throughout the world
c) I speaka tree languages – English da best

8. A CMS is a:
a) Content Management System
b) Crappy Management Study
c) Cultivated Management Seepage

9. Software developers are:
a) brilliant engineers
b) sometimes challenging to relate to
c) people who missed the Mother Ship back to their planet

10. Microsoft Word is:
a) a common word processing tool
b) the afterthought of a word processing tool
c) proof that Bill Gates is the anti-christ

11. Extreme documentation is:
a) a process in which documentation is created in a rapid, iterative fashion
b) a good name for a reality TV show
c) a process in which reviewers are beaten senseless for two to three hours if they don’t review the drafts

12. XML stands for:
a) eXtensible Markup Language
b) eXtremely Manic Linguist
c) X-rated Martian Lovetoy

13. GIF, JPEG and TIFF are:
a) the names of image file formats
b) the names of my pet dogs
c) the names of my first three children

Here are the points rewarded for each answer: you’ll get bonus points if you selected more than one right answer!
1. a) 1 b) 2 c) 0
2. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3
3. a) 1 b) 2 c) 5
4. a) 1 b) 2 c) 0
5. a) 1 b) 0 c) 3
6. a) 1 b) 0 c) 0
7. a) 1 b) 1 c) -5
8. a) 1 b) 0 c) 0
9. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3
10. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3
11. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3
12. a) 1 b) 0 c) 0
13. a) 1 b) 2 c) 5

Tally up your score. The maximum score is 56.

Here’s what the scores mean:

  • 40-56 – Congratulations! You have the soul of a technical writer. Other tech writers will beat a path to your door, and then beat you when they see how brilliant you are.
  • 25-39 – You have the potential to be a tech writer. Start hanging out with other technical writers and annoying them with your questions, and you’ll be one of us in no time.
  • Less than 25 – I hear there are some job openings in social work and horse whispering.