Have a look at this blog post over at WritersWrite.com. It has to do with whether technical writing (such as writing a computer book, or documentation to this or that) is "real" writing. A link in that article goes to a piece in the Deseret News in which a Professor Hatch (a former technical writer) contends that journalism and technical writing are the best training for writing a novel.
Maybe my viewpoint is skewed, because I've done so many kinds of writing, but I disagree. Writing--not a specific kind of writing--is the best training for writing a novel. People are not going to be good novelists because they were good tech-writers or journalists; they are going to be good novelists because they are good novelists. Writing a novel requires more than skill with language and observation, although any writing experience helps.
If Professor Hatch or anyone else is bothered that much by people who say they're not "real" writers, why not just do a general-interest nonfiction book (if not a novel) to bolster your credentials for the people in the high seats? For too many people, if they don't see it with the other books in Walmart or the local bookstore, it's not "real."