Re: What is the optimal number of technical writers for a company according to number of employees
Last week, I was approached by an HR person from a large SAAS company with
offices in both Israel and the bay area looking to fill the position of a
junior technical writer. Requirements two years experience plus lots of
other stuff no one with two years experience was likely to possess, but I did.
The company has roughly 500 employees, no existing tech writer staff and
one knowledge manager, there was no intention of hiring more than one tech
writer, and the pay was roughly similar to what I currently earn as the
lone technical writer in a company of 40 employees. I politely turned down
This got me thinking about what is the optimal number of technical writers
for a company that size.
Does anyone know if there is any metric examining this issue? If you have x
number of developers, qa, and customer support, how many technical writers
should the company ideally employ? Assume the workaholics and slackers
cancel each other out.
Anyone ever think about this?
One must wonder how the large company decides whether it needs any tech writers at all, and what it has for criteria in making decisions about the tech writing job.
My jaundiced view is that someone with a genuine need requested a tech writer, knowing what was required. The request went to HR, where the HR people pulled rabbits out of their job-description hat until they found one that didn't cost very much. "Junior position. Two years' experience. Lots of qualifications (none of which we understand, except MS Word) so that we are not inundated with applications."
The requisition will remain open for several months, and the need will have vanished, or been filled by some developer working overtime.
Later, much later, you or I will find ourselves applying for that same position, weirdly misrepresented through some misguided headhunter, only to learn that the position, still advertised as open, is no longer open.
Isn't there some better way? I think there is a golden opportunity there for someone who knows what to do, and I don't mean knowing how to do tech writing.
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- Re: What is the optimal number of technical writers for a company according to number of employees, Peter Neilson
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