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I have been hired as a Technical Writer at a firm who needed multiple types of writers: A few people were hired to write content for the average website reader interested in our product, such as a Product Manager, and user documentation, such as user guides. However, I was hired to dig down into the code and actually write sample code to explain how to use the company's SDK (software development kit). I interface with the development team on a daily basis and actually test their code, analyze it, and give them suggestions for improvement.

I would like to add another descriptive term in my job title on my email signature and resume to show that I have in-depth software engineering knowledge. For anyone who thinks this is to puff myself up or to downplay normal Technical Writers, you are wrong. The primary reason I want to do this is so my resume doesn't look like I switched careers. The secondary reason is so that people who receive my emails and read my resume can tell by my title that I have extensive software engineering experience inside software development.

I read this, but it didn't help. Of course, I searched the internet, too. I found articles about my current role, but nothing about job titles.

I thought perhaps:

  • Technical Writer (Sr. Software Engineer)
  • Technical Writer as Sr. Software Engineer
  • Technical Writer specializing in the full SDLC
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    Welcome to Writing.SE. We love questions about technical writing here and we hope you'll stick around (and pick a name of your choice so we can remember who you are). I'm not sure this question is on topic though. The one you link to is 7 years old and a lot of old posts here would be off topic now, as I think that one would be without question. I'm not voting to close because I'd like to hear from others here about whether or not your question is on topic. Either way, please do post other questions as desired and answer what you like. – Cyn Apr 20 at 19:02
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    How much authority do you have to change your own title? More of a workplace.SE point. – Criggie Apr 21 at 21:50
  • The job title is a headline for what you did, not an index to look up your rank in your previous company. The nondescript job title Associate that some companies give you won't help the interviewer. – person27 Apr 21 at 22:45
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    Better asked on the Workplace.SE? – hkBst Apr 22 at 7:04
  • I think it's on topic both places. as Writers, we often have to figure out how to brand ourselves - writer, blogger, author? This is just the Tech side of that question. Workplace.SE may have more people who have gone through it, and hiring-manager perspectives at times, but I also think that asking here gets at a slightly more reflective answer. Like I'm pissed that I found out that Tech Writer level 3, which is the position I have, actually is for those with WAY less experience. – April Apr 22 at 13:35
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I really like the title "Developer Evangelist" or "Developer Advocate". The former implies that you're spreading knowledge about the company's software/SDK, but that you're also a Developer. The latter implies that you're helping developers interface with your company. I think the former title might be more suited to your preferences. This title is in common usage; e.g. Microsoft uses it: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/c-evangelism

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    Evangelist carries a slight negative connotation to me (probably just me and probably not in this context) and Developer Advocate doesn't tell me enough. – person27 Apr 21 at 22:47
  • An evangelist is somebody who tries to ram their beliefs down my throat and gets my door slammed in their face for it. Why would you want that in your job title? (See also: "crusade".) – David Richerby Apr 22 at 9:33
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The conventional term is "programmer writer" or, sometimes, "programming writer". It is generally used to describe someone whose training and focus is programming rather than technical writing, but who is currently performing a technical communication function specifically aimed at documenting things for programmers. I did most of my tech writing for developers as well, but because my career focus was technical writing, I stuck to the term "technical writer". Same job, more or less. The difference in titles is more to cover differences in career track, which seems to be what you are concerned about.

  • If this site allowed me to select multiple answers, I would select this, but since I can select only one, I chose a different answer. Your answer is informative and makes sense, but I found an another answer to suit my particular situation better. If I am allowed, I will upvote this answer. – user2263986 Apr 21 at 12:27
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This is a challenging specialization to capture in a job title, which is why my LinkedIn tagline says "speaker to programmers". But that doesn't work as a job title at any but the edgiest startups.

As suggested in this answer, some use Programming Writer. At a previous company I was documenting but also improving (and writing examples against) our SDK, and where we wanted to make it more clear to upper management and our new corporate overloads that I'm an engineering-grade technical writer, they gave me the title (Senior) SDK Developer. Depending on how involved you are in defining your SDK, that could work for you too.

At my current company I'm an Information Developer because that's the title they use; internally people know that I have programming cred, and if I need to communicate it externally, I'll probably have more than a title available to do it with. On a resume, for example, there are a couple ways to convey important information not covered in a job title. On LinkedIn (and in a cover letter) you can write a summary that people will see before they get to the job history. If I'm handing somebody a business card (I guess that could happen), we'll have the context of whatever conversation led to me doing so.

In my career I've found that the adjective (senior, principal, lead...) carries more weight than the specific tech-writer-ish title. If you get to principal/lead level, people who know anything at all about the field are going to expect you to have some real technical depth.

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    If this site allowed me to select multiple answers, I would select this, but since I can select only one, I chose a different answer. Your answer is informative and makes sense, but I found an another answer to suit my particular situation better. If I am allowed, I will upvote this answer. – user2263986 Apr 21 at 12:28
  • @user2263986 you should select the answer that helped you most. No worries! You can vote on all answers (including upvoting the one you also accepted). – Monica Cellio Apr 21 at 15:35
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Technical writing is about relating new information in the area you are writing about to the existing knowledge of your audience. In order to do that you need to have some degree of that existing specialist knowledge yourself.

In this case, it sounds like the thing you would like to highlight, is the specialist knowledge that you possess that enables you to write for an audience of software developers.

To that end, I suggest something like:

"Writer, specializing in technical documentation for software developers"

It might seem a little wordy, but it's crystal clear what you mean at first reading. Anything shorter may confuse the reader, and let's face it, that would be the antithesis of what a good technical writer should do.

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