Salary suggestions for unique position in San Diego

Subject: Salary suggestions for unique position in San Diego
From: jsadler -at- websidestory -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 19:22:23

Greetings Technical Writers

I took a ninety-day intern position at an internet statistics and traffic
measurement company here in San Diego following graduation with a Masters
of Science in Software Engineering degree from National University. The
term of this internship is about to expire. I am currently making $14.00
per hour, which I realize is on the low side, even for an inexperienced
beginner in this field. Since I have little experience currently in
programming, I eventually want to move from code maintenance to development
to R&D and software architecture (grandiose as it sounds today).

Knowing that I am interested in staying to work as a regular (non-temp)
employee, the boss today proposed a new ambitious project/position for me.
In this company, four groups of software developers (C++, Java, cgi-perl
and database) work together on different products with very little
coordination on matters of coding style, documentation of code,
diagramming, and organization/administration of code and scripted
processes. From what I can see, the project managers are concerned mostly
with the scheduling of projects, adherence to software development process
models, and serving as liaisons to marketing and sales.

My task would be to bring some coherence into this disarray, inventory
projects and code, 'encourage' approximately 15 developers to write their
own code documentation (Javadoc, etc.) or at least elicit the natural
language equivalents of the codebase where appropriate, as well as to write
technical documents and develop coding templates and style guides. I would
serve as a webmaster for the internal document repository here, and store
code documentation in Visual Source Safe. The system may involve an
in-house XML system which would be suited for the kinds of templates
envisioned. The boss had attempted to start such an initiative when he
began working here, but was sidetracked by its maintenance and other
strategic problems. So I have his full support and vision for this project.
I also am very excited about the prospect of working in this capacity,
although I did make it clear that I intend to move on with my engineering
career goals. (Please note: I am *not* trying to create controversy here
by marginalizing technical writing. I love technical writing and am quite
good, and it will always be a part of my occupational calling.)

What would be a job title for such a position? In this region, and with my
little experience and newness in the field, what would be a good
compensation, considering that I would also gain a fairly generous benefits
package? I have done substantial part-time free-lance technical writing
(journal abstracting and French/Italian to English translating) over the
past ten years. I have good knowledge and considerable practice in
HTML/XML and web publishing.

I will need to give a salary range by Friday at the latest. Any
reflections on the above scenario would be appreciated.

Thank you,
J Sadler

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