Re: Titles for Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Titles for Technical Writers
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- HOUSTON -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 15:39:32 -0600

Michael Barwick wrote:
> What titles exist for technical writers other than Technical Writer?
> How common is it for technical writers of different levels of experience
> to be given titles such as Junior, Intermediate or Senior Technical
> Writer? Are there other alternatives?

People in STC often like to call themselves Technical Communicators, but
I've never met anyone who actually has that title. Other titles bandied
about are Documentation Specialist and Information Engineer [sic]. I've
been a Technical Writer, a Staff Writer, and a Consultant. I still think
that Technical Writer pretty much sums up my profession, but many argue
that the title has negative consequences (see the Jan. 1997 Intercom for
a brief article discussing the notion that employers don't "respect" the

As far as different titles for different levels, it seems to me that the
Senior Technical Writer title should be reserved for experienced writers
with a certain amount of longeviity in the profession, but "Senior"
writers are a dime a dozen. I've seen the title bestowed on people with
two years' experience, so I don't know how much meaning it really has.
I've never encountered a "Junior" or "Intermediate" Technical Writer;
does anyone out there have such a title?

My suggestion is that you stick with your current Technical Writer
title. As you gain experience, your employer could tack on some numbers
to your title (e.g., Technical Writer II) and after several years'
experience you could become a Senior, Advanced, Exalted One...something
along those lines. :)

Good luck in your career,
Stephen P. Victor Phone: (713) 513-2552
Technical Writer, Software Training Fax: (713) 513-2019
Schlumberger GeoQuest svictor -at- houston -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com
5599 San Felipe, Suite 1700
Houston, Texas 77056 USA

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