RE: Tech Comm Survey

Subject: RE: Tech Comm Survey
From: "Diane Evans" <diane_evans -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:34:19 -0700

1. How long have you been a technical communicator?

I wrote my first user manual in 1986; I'm a newcomer here.

2. Have you noticed changes in software programs that you use? Explain briefly.

My first user manual was written for in-house use, so I had no fancy tools. I used an early IBM word processer, then drew some charts by hand and included them as the appendix. (Today, I would use Visio for the task.)

I actually created my own templates back then, and dabbled in macros for things that are standard in Microsoft Office today.

3. Have you noticed a change in salary? Explain briefly.

Right now, I am earning the highest salary that I ever have when I consider my benefits. When I went from teaching full-time/tech writing freelance to tech writing full-time, I tripled my salary in three years.

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

I used to create user manuals and other end-user documentation, reports, white papers, and so forth. Now. I deal exclusively with Software Development Life Cycle documentation -- requirement specifications, design documents, test plans, and so forth.

5. How many times have you changed jobs or relocated?

I've never seriously relocated, although I did move 15 miles to be closer to the Seattle/Bellevue area, where most of the jobs are. I'm not sure how many jobs I have had -- during the dot-com era, I did a lot of short-term contracts that paid well, but only lasted about 3 - 6 months each. I am now in a very secure job, one that will probably last until I retire in 14 years and two weeks, not that I am counting or anything!

Diane Evans

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