And it's pretty much acknowledged two years later in Nightingale that if Kim had not been stranded in the Delta quadrant he would have been promoted a long time ago....
Wasn't Nightingale actually a disguised critique of Rick Berman's micromanagement? Kim's ego screwed up Janeway's first contact with the other set of aliens. (Yes, neither Janeway, Chaktotay nor Tuvok thought to check the hold of the Nightingale. But Paris, the writer
, made a face at the idea of Kim commanding, so obviously that means Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok were stupid to listen to Kim.)
I've read that Robert Duncan McNiell couldn't (wouldn't?) do techical dialogue. Thus, Garret Wang got ninety percent of his jargon and the inadvertent creation of a brilliant engineer character, even though it was established that a brilliant Kim means you're in an alternate universe.