Moving into the position of "programmer writer"?

Subject: Moving into the position of "programmer writer"?
From: "Anon Y. Mous" <unknownidca -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 09:07:42 -0800 (PST)


I'm looking for some sage career advice from anyone
who is currently working as a "programmer writer" or
who hires and/or works with programmer writers.

I've been a tech writer in software for about 5 years.
In that time I've done just about everything there is
to do with user documentation. I hate to say it, but
I'm gettin' a bit bored.

A couple of years ago I started seeing a new job title
opening up ... the "programmer writer". Since then
I've worked on some API documentation and taken some
programming courses, and I'm starting to think very
seriously about retraining so I can move into this
area of tech writing.

For those of you who work as programmer writers or
hire them:

Would an intensive, 8-month certificate program in
programming be sufficient to build the programming
skills required to work as a programmer writer?

How in demand are programmer writers? I saw over 30
open positions alone while doing a casual search of
Microsoft jobs last night. That seemed extremely

In the U.S., how much would a programmer writer expect
to earn? I realize that salaries vary depending on
where you live, but is there a bare minimum salary
that programmer writers can expect to earn?

What kind of team do programmer writers work in? Do
you work in a programming team, or do you work in
generic doc departments?

I really appreciate and private or public input you
can provide. As I said, moving into programming
writing would require a significant financial and
professional investment on my part. I want to make
sure it would offer some rewards in terms of increased
employment demand, better salary, and interesting
writing challenges.


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