NAME: SIMON MARK SMITH
407 Chertsey Road
TELEPHONE: 020–8755 1954
LATEST CV: Technical Author (preferred). Other formats including Word .doc and Adobe .pdf are available at http://www.simon-smith.org/work/index.html.
|MAJOR AREAS||Technical writing||Advanced||1989–|
|Windows (all versions)||Advanced||1993–|
|MS-Office (all versions)||Advanced||1995–|
|Networking and internet||Advanced||1996–|
Brunel University, Uxbridge, MIDDLESEX UB8 3PH (1988 to 1991)
Dulwich College, Dulwich, LONDON SE21 7LD (1981 to 1988)
Two years of four year ‘thin sandwich’ BEng Mechanical Engineering degree course.
|3 ‘A’ Levels||Physics||A|
|4 ‘A/O’ Levels||Test in English||1 (one)|
|French Business Studies||A|
|10 ‘O’ Levels||7 at Grade A|
|2 at Grade B|
|1 at Grade C|
|1 at Grade E (B after retake)|
Technical writing projects to date include:
|Bug reports||Marketing collateral||Technical guides|
|Coding style guides||Project scopes||Tutorials|
|Conversion to e-book||Proofreading||Use of SVN version control|
|Document templates||Punctuation style guides||User guides|
|Document style guides||Reviews||Writing software patches|
|Editing documents and manuscripts for spelling, presentation, punctuation,
grammar, tone, length, and conformance to house style.
My software skills cover hundreds of PC, Mac and Acorn products including text, graphics and database applications. I also have over five years experience as a system administrator, and system administrators are routinely expected to be able to install, configure, use, patch, maintain and support all standard office software used anywhere within a company. Hence I would expect to be able to use any application a technical author might need, whether AuthorIT, Documentum, MadCap Flare or anything else. In fact I have already used much of the software likely to be directly or indirectly relevant to a technical author’s role (including Illustrator, MadCap Flare, RoboHelp, Subversion, Word, etc.), and I learn new software very quickly – usually within minutes or hours depending on its complexity.
I have written several DBase applications. I have SQL experience, and I often write ad-hoc utilities in Arm BASIC V. I have varying experience with C, C++, Perl, PHP, unix shell scripts and other-platform equivalents, the PoVRay scene description language, and I have written content for several different Wikis. I am confident performing byte-level file manipulation via text editors or a suitable program interface, and I have written tools to automate bulk byte-level alterations to files, and convertors for, e.g. text to HTML and text to XML. I readily add other programming or scripting languages when needed.
I can give technical support at all levels for all common office applications. I have covered everything from early PCs to multi-processor servers, and I have done support by telephone, face-to-face, via remote control software such as VNC Viewer and through informal training where appropriate. I have wide experience with word processors, spreadsheets, database applications, graphics tools, internet software, editors etc. on multiple software platforms.
I have trained people in DOS, Windows, DBase, word processing, spreadsheet and graphics applications, HTML, GoldMine and various other oddments. This has mostly been one-to-one, but has included some classroom experience. I finished a third of a one-year RSA course to become an IT trainer but interrupted this to start work at West Middlesex University Hospital.
I have worked on PCs, Acorns, Apple Macs, HP, Sun and Digital servers, printers, plotters, monitors and other equipment such as EPROM programmers. I know how to take correct anti-static precautions. I have installed software varying from DOS on low-range PCs and second-processor cards to advanced Windows 2003 server builds, and basic unix setups on various unix flavours, including Solaris, RedHat Linux, Mac OS X, SCO, and Digital Unix. I have specified, built and maintained a wide range of systems from scratch, including tasks such as setting up Power Macs and NT PCs to share common resources such as printers.
Aurora Metro are a small publishing house in Twickenham. My work there has included proofreading, producing technical and systems documentation, ad-hoc technical support, book reviews, and my most recent project is to convert a new publication (Pomegranate Sky) to e-book format and document the process required. This will include advising on how to refine existing processes to make production of future e-books as seamless as possible.
Steel is a digital media agency specialising in creating highly-accessible web sites and viral marketing campaigns. I wrote a wide variety of important customer-facing and internal documents for them, including: technical scoping documents for new web sites and viral campaigns; user guides for various parts of Steel’s bespoke web content management systems; service level agreements; testing strategy documents; training guidelines; documentation style guides; and a mixture of other supporting content. Sometimes I rewrote and updated existing material, while in other cases I produced new content from scratch.
I wrote user guides for the company’s ERP system, which is based on Microsoft Axapta (now Microsoft Dynamics). The guides were produced for users at all technical levels. Axapta is being rolled out across Air Fayre and is likely to be extended to cover the other companies in the Watermark Group. The system includes bespoke code to cope with aircraft flight scheduling and the very precise item loading requirements specified by Air Fayre customers (Qantas, BMI, Air Canada and others). Flexibility, foresight and an iterative, modular documentation method were needed because many procedures were still being adjusted as the system entered daily use. I finished work about 7% ahead of schedule.
I worked as system administrator for InterSystems’ Eton sales office. InterSystems is a software company with many very technically skilled staff, and the highest quality of service was expected. Staff numbers more than doubled while I worked there and the support requirements of the overseas offices (South Africa, Spain, Belgium and others) also rose. My duties included administering over a dozen Windows servers and unix systems (including remote administration), routine maintenance of PCs, technical support at all levels from office temps to the company owner, ad-hoc training, recommending, specifying and purchasing all IT-related hardware and software, and any related areas. I gained a reputation for producing high quality technical documentation, but mostly in emails and other less formal channels. Where corporate standards existed I ensured that we followed them, and where they did not exist I defined them. While I did have support from e.g. the US when needed, in practice most decisions on how best to support, run and enhance the office’s IT systems were mine for over four years.
PC Support Engineer
1995–1998 (Contract to Permanent)
This position started out mainly hardware-based but the software and technical components grew as new computers become ever more sophisticated. Incoming machines were cleaned, checked, and their software rebuilt, and they were sometimes sent out again within hours of their arrival.
Database Analyst/Programmer/Technical Writer
I wrote user guides for a suite of bespoke DBase applications produced in-house by staff in the Clinical Biochemistry department. I analysed the source code, interviewed and conferred with the software authors, and wrote manuals conforming to the hospital’s documentation standards. These programs stored patients’ test results and clinical trials data needed by drugs firms or the Department of Health. The work was commissioned to comply with a medical quality assurance standard. I also wrote an in-house programming style guide for the Biochemistry department, and an application tracking dietary details for intensive-care patients.
Database Analyst/Programmer/Technical Writer
I worked as a database analyst/programmer, writing and documenting a plant maintenance application for use at several sites, including dealing with BS5750 and training issues that arose.
I was a database administrator/programmer, mainly working on the council’s housing maintenance database, and writing ad-hoc reports using an SQL-style query language.
Industrial Trainee (IMechE accredited)
I assessed and reported on a novel (patent) flue pipe design.
Industrial Trainee (IMechE accredited)
I wrote an engineering safety report concerned with road tanker loading.
I enjoy computing (programming rather than gaming), writing, walking, reading (science, science fiction, fantasy, humour), ray-tracing and rôle-playing games (RPGs).
Some sample ray-traced images are available at http://www.simon-smith.org/raytracing/index.html. I wrote a book called Fragments from the Rim for an American RPG company (West End Games) in 1993. The book was a mixture of science fiction source material and rules for the Star Wars RPG. Fragments is generally considered the best of the dozen or so ‘Galaxy Guide’ books that were produced. I am also contributing to the Battle for Wesnoth computer game (http://www.wesnoth.org).
As I also write in my spare time, I have years of writing experience outside of my employment history. My website has several hidden writing samples; please contact me directly for the URL.
Back to my CV page.