Re: What is a Senior Technical

Subject: Re: What is a Senior Technical
From: Win Day <winday -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 21:18:14 -0400

At 05:09 PM 6/12/96 U, Tony Rocco wrote:
>The term Senior Technical Writer gets bandied about quite a lot. Most job
>notices specify a senior-level writer, never just a regular old technical
>writer. I want to know what distinguishes a senior level writer from an
>intermediate one from a junior one. Are there any universally accepted
>criteria? Is it simply number of years? Also, please don't use this message
>as a jumping off point for another tedious discussion about certification.I
>don't want to hear the pros and cons of that again.

I market myself as a senior technical writer. I have 3 years of freelance
experience as a tech writer, but I have almost 16 years of process
engineering, project management, and marketing experience, during which I
wrote a lot. From where I stand, it's the ability to take care of the big
picture that makes me a senior writer.

As a freelancer and a senior tech writer, I handle the whole project, which

- planning the doc project
- helping develop the software interface for software manuals
- having input into the engineering project for the engineering project reports
- establishing style guides
- interviewing users and SMEs
- developing the doc structure
- writing the bits and pieces
- creating graphics that include everything from screen captures to complex
equations to drafted process engineering drawings
- creating page layouts
- editing
- proofreading
- indexing
- producing the final copy
- testing the docs after they're released
- developing the training materials that are based on the manuals
- archiving
- maintaining doc project management records
- supervising other writers if there are any on a given project
- setting priorities for different projects amidst chaos
- putting out fires set by others

I wouldn't expect a junior writer to be able to do all this. A junior
writer should be able to handle selected parts of this list, but should
report to a more senior writer for approval.

I don't think there are any universally-accepted criteria. Advancement
depends a lot on individual company standards.

Win Day
Technical Writer/Editor
Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com

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