RE: them engineers

Subject: RE: them engineers
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 14:43:14 +0100

Martin Smith wrote in response to Chuck Martin:
>When a company interviews a computer programmer with a computer science
degree, the company can rightly make a few assumptions about the person's
background. Not so with technical writers. <

I have a computer science degree, and about 15 years experience in writing
(5 years in technical writing). While this may have got me a few interviews
when companies were specifically looking for people with a technical
background, it didn't get me respect on the job: respect or lack of it for
technical writers seemed to be a matter of unofficial company policy, rather
than any good or bad experiences with technical writers in the past.

That, industry-wide, technical writers are valued less than programmers is
measured by the nasty little fact that programmers are always paid more.
Don't come back at me with stats about first-job programmers getting paid
less than senior technical writers: I mean that proportional to years of
experience, a programmer will always end up on a higher salary scale than a
technical writer.

In the third year of my degree, I decided that rather than be a bored
programmer (and probably a second-rate one) I'd be an enthusiastic technical
writer (and aim to be a first-rate one). I still think that job satisfaction
is more important than money, but hey, money is nice *too*.

(Maybe they do things differently in the US. In all the business meetings
I've been to, taking the minutes is what senior staff fight over - because
that way *they* get to decide what was decided... :-)

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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