Re: Titles for Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Titles for Technical Writers
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 16:35:45 -0600

Stephen Victor wrote:
> Michael Barwick wrote:
> >
> > What titles exist for technical writers other than Technical Writer?...

> People in STC often like to call themselves Technical Communicators, but
> I've never met anyone who actually has that title.

I once met a "Technical Communication Specialist". One.

> Other titles bandied
> about are Documentation Specialist and Information Engineer [sic]. 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
> title).

The article's a good one - but I think in particular that any title with
the root "Document" or "Documentation" is a cosmic "Kick Me" sign. It
implies that your job is in producing bits of paper - really, that
you're a glorified word processor. Avoid it.
> 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?

A few larger companies in my area (Minnesota) used to have "Junior
TW's", back before they downsized. I once met a guy who'd been an "Tech
Writers' Assistant", whatever that meant...
> 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. :)

Personally, I like "Information Developer" or "Info Designer". It
implies that information is a design discipline, not a word-processing
and editing task.

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