I’ve grown up reading Tom Clancy and probably most of you have at least seen Red October, so this book caught my eye when browsing used books for a recent trip. It’s a fairly human look at what’s involved in sailing on a Trident missile submarine…
In my IT career, one of the things I have found that sets me apart is my ability to write. As IT pros, we write a lot. Whether we’re talking email or documentation, senior level IT workers are always writing. However, not all of us graduated college with a degree in English. I certainly didn’t. The good news is you don’t have to have an English degree to write well. Writing well consists of understanding the rules, observing good writing, and practicing.
One of the biggest areas that folks struggle is with respect to grammar. A grammatical mistake can obliterate an otherwise well-written message. Here are some of the big offenders:
Do you struggle with any of these rules? The best way to overcome the problematic rule is to study the rule and then practice using it. For instance, the rule on there, their, and they’re is one a lot of people get wrong. There refers to a place, their is possessive, and they’re is a contraction of they are. If I was having an issue with this rule, I’d try to write 20 sentences of each example. After a few days of practice, I’d have the rule down. If you’ve never tried this exercise, it works on the concept of deliberate practice.
Master these 15 rules as a start to writing better. Writing, like most other skills, is a skill you can always improve on. Professional writers are always writing. They are always trying to improve. Even though writing isn’t our primary skill, it is still an important one for any IT worker. Invest time and effort in your writing and you greatly benefit your career.