I have a really hard time describing my role to people outside of IBM. If I wanted to be lazy and did not want to go into details and explain all my different projects, I would likely quickly state that I am a technical writer.
I do not consider myself to be a technical writer though because I believe the term is so limiting. I worked as a web developer for five years while I was completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Communication, which is from the department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington.
Most of my work experience has been in the realm of web development and my degree work was an even mix of user experience engineering and technical writing.
At IBM, while working as an information developer, I’ve spent a majority of my time working on more technical projects such as writing and developing for the IBM Data Studio Administration Console and developing a WebSphere MQ script generating tool as part of the WebSphere Replication Server team.
After that team, I moved to the Integrated Data Management portfolio as the overall Information Development infrastructure lead. My job title does not get more clear with this change in roles. I now lead a team of database developers, writers, sales enablement, and other subject matter experts in the development of a common sample database that our portfolio of greater than 30 products. In addition to leading that development team, I am also working on education and advocating adoption of this database across other Software Group products.
That alone sounds like a full time job right? Just one part of my new role. I also am the lead for integrating all of the documentation from the portfolio of products into a single solution-oriented information center. I also develop and implement an automated DITA build system to allow all of the writing contributors to collaborate on the design of the information in an on-demand build environment.
I also have a good user experience engineering background from my course work at the University of Washington. In one of my most influential courses (User Interface Design), my team developed and won the award for best designed project. I was the interface designer and technical writer for that joint team of 3 industrial engineers and one Tech Comm. student. This course was led by the world renown Dr Thomas Furness.
So what title should I really be using to describe myself information developer? software engineer? application developer? user experience engineer? team lead? technical writer? or just nerd?