Re: Salary info from Coopers and Lybrand survey

Subject: Re: Salary info from Coopers and Lybrand survey
From: Paul Fussell <pfussell -at- FORTE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 17:41:39 -0700

>On Aug 1, 11:43am, Linda Laurie wrote:
>> Subject: Re: Salary info from Coopers and Lybrand survey
>> This is interesting, but I'm curious about experience levels. No entry level
>> tech writer will get to $46,000 out here in Seattle (especially not by me),
>> unless they contract. Even so, you need some experience to get that first
>> contract. I know some senior writers who can't get to $46,000 with lots of
>> experience. This list seems a little skewed.

>>>>At 1:29 PM -0700 8/1/97, Jeanette Feldhousen wrote:
>Maybe because unlike most surveys, they lumped the pacific northwest in
>with California as the "west coast". The average salaries are probably
>heavily skewed toward the bay area.

From my Silicon Valley perspective, these salaries are skewed, and
therefore practically useless, for two reasons:

As Jeanette said, there are wide variations on the West Coast (although if
$46,000 is high for an experienced writer in Seattle, an expensive city
from my experience, tech writers are grossly underpaid there). I think the
salaries are completely unrepresentative of those paid by Silicon Valley
software companies--they're much lower than the local average.

The report also appears to average the pay of experienced tech writers,
inexperienced tech writers, experienced tech writers who have a strong
technical background in the subject area, and so on.

With these two skews, the data from the report is almost useless. I think
any doc manager who's looked for experienced writers in Silicon Valley
would probably have a good laugh and throw the report away.


Paul Fussell Forte Software
Technical Publications 1800 Harrison Street
510-869-2124 Suite 2400
pfussell -at- forte -dot- com Oakland, CA 94612

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