RE: So you call yourself an architect? -- (still) longish

Subject: RE: So you call yourself an architect? -- (still) longish
From: Charlie Montgomery <Charlie -dot- Montgomery -at- onename -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 12:37:43 -0700

Fair enough, but while we're being purists about these terms, let's also
remember to be practical.

One thing limiting to technical writers is career path. For years, if we
wanted to increase our salaries, etc. we had to do one of the following:

* work for a company that supports dual career paths
* decide to become a lead/manager of a Doc department
* resign yourself to the industry standard TW salary
* shift to work outside of the typical TW skill set

The job titles we have access to today were created largely to accommodate
the expanding media we work in: print, WinHelp, web help, intranet, PDF,
etc. At some point someone said, "Well, what we're looking for is not
exactly a developer, but someone with excellent organizational and written
skills, and great attention to detail. We need someone who can not only
write and publish, but someone who can manage content in a number of ways."
These are excellent opportunities for many of us to apply current skills to
new (and often higher-paying) jobs.

So, the titles by which we are referred to these days range from vogue yet
vague (Content Mananger, Information Architect, Computer "Scientist," or
"Champion" a la Adobe here in Seattle) to traditional yet accurate
(Technical Writer, Software Programmer). Some border on silly, and others
seem tired and limiting. Nevertheless, the advent of the Web and multiple
ways to publish have opened a lot of doors for us "technical writers."

To a purist, the word "architect" may have only one application, but in
everyday use, it's a good term for describing someone's function within an

As an aside: The big muscular guy who picks up my garbage cans every
Thursday has "Sanitation Engineer" stitched on his shirt. My guess is that
this guy wasn't required to obtain a degree in sanitation engineering to
perform his function. Anyone want to tell this guy he's just a garbage man?


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