Re: What *is* a documentation specialist?

Subject: Re: What *is* a documentation specialist?
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 11:11:14 -0500

The title "documentation specialist" is vague at best, and the title
"technical writer" is increasingly appended or prepended to more and
more job postings. Do a search for programmer/technical writer or
business analyst/technical writer sometime - many of them, at least
from my experience. And yes, there are clerical/technical writer jobs
out there too.

My advice: don't apply, don't contact. Just ignore the postings.
They'll get the transient employee they want and that person will do
the filing and write the memos for 2-6 months until something better
comes along. And then this job ad will make its rounds again.

It's unfortunate that "technical writer" is being thrown around so
much lately. I really wish STC had lobbied harder for an update to the
technical writer listing in the BLS database and not fight so hard to
change it to "technical communicator". I'm not sure if postings like
these are a direct result of that or not, but I would personally have
liked to see a stronger definition of technical writer used and the
pay scale updated appropriately. People identify with "technical
writer". They scratch their heads at "technical communicator".

FWIW, and sorry for the side topic.

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 10:53 AM, Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> wrote:
> I found an ad on line for a "tech writer / documentation specialist" and
> the job description seems to say that the writer will get stuck doing
> all the clerical tasks, including arranging everyone else's stuff in
> file cabinets.
> That job is called "file clerk" where I come from, and is generally
> entry level. The skills of creativity and investigation that are
> required for being a tech writer would, I imagine, be a great hazard in
> the person of a file clerk.
> Should I bone up on coffee-making (I don't drink the stuff), make sure I
> remember the order of the alphabet, and tell them $11.42 per hour is
> just fine? (No, I don't know what they want to pay. It can't be much.)
> If I were to file by second letter of the primary name, instead of the
> first letter, then I would become totally indispensible and I could
> demand a raise to $16.42. I'd never have any time to do their tech
> writing, though.

Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood

Available for contract and full time opportunities.

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What *is* a documentation specialist?: From: Peter Neilson

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