Re: Job title for tech writer who does QA testing

Subject: Re: Job title for tech writer who does QA testing
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 25 May 2018 10:58:41 -0400

What you are looking for is someone who's a frustrated software developer, but doesn't know it, and who can write.

Decades ago I knew someone who was a keyboarder for programmers. The programmers wrote code on coding sheets, and the keyboarder punched it into the computer console. ONE computer. ONE keyboard. She could miraculously correct assembly-language coding errors, but could not figure out how to do programming herself, in spite of trying.

At a company where I was a TW it seemed that //all// our TWs were also QA. As far as I could tell, the QA department stuck to testing to see that the software behaved according to specification. The tech writers had to document what the user needed to know, including the parts that Just Didn't Work. If the specification was wrong, they caught that, too. (Nowadays there are supposed to be tests to catch specification errors. Some of those don't work, either.)

Our very best QA-TW had a PhD in English. That made her "obviously" not a techie. One fine day she complained to the SME that there was a bug. She was told, "You can't have found a bug. You just don't understand the software." She finally got the guy to come to her office to teach her how to do it right. He watched her demo the bug, and said, "Oh. I think I'd better go and fix that." After that she was trusted on further bugs.

Another of our TWs was also a software engineer. IIRC he was a college drop-out, too. He would tell them what patches or redesign were needed. A few years ago he was working for Microsoft, doing software design, and told me, "It's not as bad as you might think," but he's since quit there. Maybe it really was as bad.

On Fri, 25 May 2018 10:32:50 -0400, Nina Rogers <janina -dot- rogers -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

Hello from rainy Georgia!

I'm moving into a new content-management position at work (yay! I think ...
), and my company is looking to hire someone to take over the brunt of my
tech writing and software QA testing roles. Although my job title has been
"technical writer," the company discovered last year that I'm good at QA,
so they added me to their QA team for 2-3 weeks of each development cycle.
(Development cycles are 8-12 weeks each, so it's a relatively significant
chunk of my time.)

For the new hire, they want to find someone who is also good at both
software documentation/KB management and QA testing (and who can answer the
occasional support ticket when the support team is overloaded), and they're
thinking that the "technical writer" job title doesn't quite cover it.

So, I'm looking for suggestions for a job title, maybe something a little
more elegant than Technical Writer/QA Tester (though that is accurate and
would work). The job will be roughly 25% QA, 10% support, and 65% software
doc/KB management.

Any ideas?
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