Management Technical Career Paths by jau16062

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									Alternate Career Paths for
Technical Communicators
              By Jack Molisani
       President, ProSpring Technical Staffing
     Executive Director, The LavaCon Conference
About the Speaker

   Associate Fellow, STC
   President, ProSpring Technical Staffing
   Executive Director,
   The LavaCon Conference
Warnings and Disclaimers

  Group Participation
  I am not a Professional Statistician
  Speaking in Hypertext
  Chinese Artists
  Controversy!
Career Path #1

   Other Profession
   Technical Writer
   Sr. Technical Writer
   Documentation Manager (maybe)
Career Path #2

   Other Profession
   Technical Writer
   Sr. Technical Writer / Doc. Manager
   Contractor Technical Writer
   Technical Writing Business Owner
Career Path #3

   Other Profession
   Technical Writer
   Other Profession
   (This time in a related field.)
Related Fields

   New field is related to technical writing
   Uses the same core competencies
   You take a specific task of technical
   writing and specialize in it
   Identified not as a “tech writer”
   but as a “_________”
Core Competencies

  Written Communication Skills
  Interview Skills
  Project Planning and Project Management
  Critical Thinking Skills
  Conflict Resolution
  User Advocacy
  Quality Control
Related Fields
 Accessibility                         Marketing
 Business/Software Analysis            Product Management
 Change Management                     Project Management
 Coding/Programming                    Proposal Management
 Compliance                            Quality Assurance
 Content Management                    Release Management
 Corporate Communication               Training
 Documentation Management              Usability
 Graphic Design/Illustration           User Interface Design
 ID/Courseware Development             Website Development
 Localization / Internationalization   Other
Corporate Value

  My premise: Related fields are more
  valued by management…
  and thus receive better compensation.
  Why? Because they are perceived to
  add value, reduce costs or generate
  revenue.
Corporate Value

  Or: Because they are perceived to add
  more value, reduce more costs or generate
  more revenue then technical writers do.
  Exceptions: Illustrators and QA/Testers
The Survey

  I created a web-based survey that asked
  about transitioning from technical writing
  into related fields
  Presented a predefined list, but also
  prompted for other answers
  Also asked about compensation
  Included TWs who haven’t transitioned to
  get a compensation baseline
The Survey

  351 self-selecting responses
  Compensation answers were given in both
  hourly rates and annual salaries, so we
  annualized the hourly rate by multiplying
  the by 2,080 hours.
  Note that this affects the true average
  annual compensation since not all
  contractors bill 2,080 hours a year…
The Survey

  …and some fields are more consulting
  oriented than others.
  But since we did the same annualization
  across all answers, the survey should
  present relative differences between
  technical writing and other fields.
  (Remember that this is an informal survey
  with a limited self-selecting audience.)
Other Disclaimers
   I reassigned some “other” responses that were
   very close (or actually on) the predefined list to
   make tabulation easier.
   We limited respondents to choose only one field for
   the same reason.
   I did not include fields with fewer than three votes
   or answers that didn’t make sense (such as one
   person who gave a salary but whose field was
   “Unemployed.”)
   When given a range of compensation, we used the
   average. (Foreign currencies were converted.)
Have You Transitioned from TW?

            No, 21%




                           Yes, 79%
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                                                                                                                                               Into What Alternate Career Field




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Other:
  Association Management         Patent Claims Writing
  Creative Writing               Process Engineering
  Customer Support (Help Desk)   Program Management
  Database Creation and Design   Proposal Management
  Editing                        Publishing
  Human Resources/Recruiting     Real Estate
  Information Architect          Regulatory Affairs
  Innovation management          Systems Engineering
  Knowledge Management           TW recruitment
  Lawyer                         User Experience Management
  Parts Sales/Service Manager    XML validation
Type of Employment
                         Staff Employee and
                              Consultant
                                 1%
                                              Business Owner
                                                    9%




                                                               Contractor/Consultant
                                                                       31%




        Staff Employee
              59%
How Long in New Career Field


                                                   0 to 3 years
                                                       31%
        More than 9 years
              35%




                                           3 to 6 years
                                               18%
                            6 to 9 years
                                16%
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                                                                                          $20,000.00
                                                                                                       $40,000.00
                                                                                                                    $60,000.00
                                                                                                                                 $80,000.00
                                                                                                                                              $100,000.00
                                                                                                                                                            $120,000.00
                                                                                                                                                                          $140,000.00
                                                                                                                                                                                        $160,000.00
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Avg Salary by Employment Type
  $160,000.00




  $140,000.00




  $120,000.00




  $100,000.00




   $80,000.00




   $60,000.00




   $40,000.00




   $20,000.00




         $-
                Business Owner   Contractor/Consultant   Staff Employee   Staff Employee and Consultant
Observations
  The survey disproved my premise that
  professionals in related fields are more highly
  compensated than technical writers.
  The relative compensations followed a bell curve:
   – 11 fields were higher
   – 2 were the same
   – 9 were lower
  The people who reported the highest
  compensations were business owners.
www.ProspringStaffing.com


   www.LavaCon.org

								
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