Re: Tech Comm Survey

Subject: Re: Tech Comm Survey
From: cchris -at- toptechwriter -dot- us
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 15:01:52 -0600

> 1. How long have you been a technical communicator?
20 years this year (woohoo!). Mostly writing hardware-related docs.

> 2. Have you noticed changes in software programs that you use? Explain
> briefly.
Many of the applications that were popular when I started out (PageMaker,
Word Perfect, etc.) have just about died out for reasons having to do with
poor marketing and losing sight of the program's core strengths. The best
software (Adobe Photoshop, for example) has gotten more powerful and
reliable but would still be recognizable to those familiar with their 1.0
versions because they added capability without messing with the program's
strengths. Inexplicably, Microsoft Word, which becomes more bloated and
less functional with every release, continues to sell well, another sign
of the impending apocalypse no doubt.

> 3. Have you noticed a change in salary? Explain briefly.
Twenty years ago, when I started out as a TW it was a lateral move from
being a field engineer in Saudi Arabia, so I was able to get hired as a
Sr. TW for $45K. Just two years ago, as Director of MarCom, I was looking
to hire a TW and had a hard time finding any for less that $60K (several
were in the upper 90's!), but then it was an employee's market. Since the
bubble burst, today I can easily find writers for $45K again (even less if
I wanted to outsource to India).

> 4. Do the tasks that you complete now vary from what you did when you began
> working in this field? Explain briefly.

My first tech writing job was at TRW in '84 where I used pencil and paper
and lots of Wite Out. Then at the next job in '87 I got to use a Mac Plus
with MS Word, SuperPaint, and Aldus FreeHand. Everything important that I
needed to know about tech writing (proper content development, style sheet
and layout design, and the importance of line-art isometric illustrations)
I learned on that MacPlus. Since then the challenge has been to do it
better, faster, and cheaper.

> 5. How many times have you changed jobs or relocated?
Changed jobs five times, laid off once, never been relocated.
> Thank you for your time.
> Tricia
> tlittle08 -at- hotmail -dot- com
> _________________________________________________________________
> Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE!
> ht


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