RE: Tech Comm Survey
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!
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