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Become A Business Writer

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Working As A Business Writer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $59,149

    Average Salary

What Does A Business Writer Do

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.

Duties

Technical writers typically do the following:

  • Determine the needs of users of technical documentation
  • Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
  • Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus require fewer instructions
  • Organize and write supporting content for products
  • Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
  • Standardize content across platforms and media
  • Gather user feedback to update and improve content
  • Revise content as new issues arise

Technical writers create paper-based and digital operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and “frequently asked questions” pages to help technical support staff, consumers, and other users within a company or an industry. After a product is released, technical writers also may work with product liability specialists and customer-service managers to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

Technical writers often work with computer hardware engineers, scientists, computer support specialists, and software developers to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Therefore, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and communicate the information to people with diverse professional backgrounds.

Applying their knowledge of the user of the product, technical writers may serve as part of a team conducting usability studies to help improve the design of a product that is in the prototype stage. Technical writers may conduct research on their topics through personal observation, library and Internet research, and discussions with technical specialists.

Technical writers are also responsible for managing the consistency of technical content and its use across business departments including product development, manufacturing, marketing, and customer relations.

Some technical writers help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions.

Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online and through social media. Technical writers are using the interactive technologies of the Web and social media to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

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How To Become A Business Writer

A college degree is usually required for a position as a technical writer. In addition, experience with a technical subject, such as computer science, Web design, or engineering, is important.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications. Many technical writing jobs require both a degree and knowledge in a specialized field, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some technical writers begin their careers as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. They eventually develop technical communication skills and assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. In small firms, beginning technical writers may work on projects right away; in larger companies with more standard procedures, beginners may observe experienced technical writers and interact with specialists before being assigned projects.

Training

Many technical writers need short-term on-the-job training to adapt to a different style of writing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offer certification for technical writers. In addition, the American Medical Writers Association offers extensive continuing education programs and certificates in medical writing. These certificates are available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields.

Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a technical writer’s opportunities for advancement.

Advancement

Prospects for advancement generally include working on more complex projects and leading or training junior staff. Some technical writers become self-employed and produce work on a freelance basis.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Technical writers must be able to take complex, technical information and translate it for colleagues and consumers who have nontechnical backgrounds.

Detail oriented. Technical writers create detailed instructions for others to follow. As a result, they must be detailed and precise at every step so that the instructions can be useful.

Imagination. Technical writers must be able to think about a procedure or product in the way a person without technical experience would think about it.

Teamwork. Technical writers must be able to work well with others. They are almost always part of a team: with other writers; with designers, editors, and illustrators; and with the technical people whose information they are explaining.

Technical skills. Technical writers must be able to understand highly complex information. Many technical writers need a background in engineering or computer science in order to do this.

Writing skills. Technical communicators must have excellent writing skills to be able to explain technical information clearly.

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Business Writer Demographics

Gender

Female

49.3%

Male

47.6%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.3%

Chinese

13.6%

Japanese

13.6%

French

13.6%

Braille

4.5%

Cantonese

4.5%

Russian

4.5%

Hindi

4.5%

Mandarin

4.5%

Arabic

4.5%

Armenian

4.5%
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Business Writer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.8%

University of Florida

7.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

7.7%

San Jose State University

6.2%

Temple University

6.2%

Central Texas College

4.6%

Boston University

4.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.6%

New York University

4.6%

Howard University

4.6%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.6%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.6%

San Diego State University

4.6%

Michigan State University

4.6%

University of Rhode Island

4.6%

Syracuse University

3.1%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.1%

Saint Joseph's University

3.1%

Ohio University -

3.1%

University of California - Santa Cruz

3.1%
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Majors

Journalism

13.3%

English

12.9%

Business

11.6%

Communication

10.0%

Writing

8.7%

Marketing

7.9%

Management

4.1%

Political Science

3.7%

Finance

3.3%

Psychology

2.9%

Agricultural Public Services

2.5%

Public Relations

2.5%

Business Communications

2.5%

History

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Law

2.1%

Accounting

2.1%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.7%

Fine Arts

1.7%

Information Systems

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.5%

Masters

31.2%

Other

11.3%

Certificate

3.6%

Associate

3.6%

Doctorate

2.7%

License

0.3%
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Real Business Writer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Business Writer The Colony Media Inc. New York, NY Feb 24, 2016 $70,000 -
$80,000
Business Writer The Colony Media Inc. New York, NY Feb 23, 2014 $70,000
Business Writer The Colony Media Inc. New York, NY Mar 01, 2012 $70,000
Business Writer Concept Food Service Distributor, Inc. Durham, NC Aug 31, 2016 $62,610
Technical/Business Writer AIMO Wireless Inc. Industry, CA Oct 01, 2013 $61,212
Technical/Business Writer Pinnacle Wireless LLC. Monterey Park, CA Sep 21, 2013 $56,746
Bilingual Business Writer Transformer Testing & Repairs, Inc. Fairfield, CA Dec 01, 2009 $52,509
Business Plan Writer Law Offices of Steve QI & Associates Alhambra, CA Oct 01, 2011 $52,300
Business Writer Lithotech International El Monte, CA Oct 01, 2010 $52,300
Business Writer Lithotechs LLC. El Monte, CA Oct 01, 2010 $52,300
Technical & Business Writer Brainstorm Corporation La Puente, CA Oct 01, 2010 $52,300
Technical or Business Writer AIMO Wireless Inc. Industry, CA Oct 01, 2010 $52,300
Financial Business Writer Grady Development San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2010 $51,716
Bilingual Business Writer Giant International Group West Covina, CA Jun 06, 2011 $50,380
Business Communication Writer International Audio-Visual Communicaiton El Monte, CA Dec 02, 2009 $50,380
Business Promotion Writer Us International Financial Investment Group Inc. San Gabriel, CA Jul 06, 2010 $50,380
Business Writer International Audio Visual Communication, Inc. El Monte, CA Oct 01, 2010 $50,380
Business Writer Korean American Heritage Foundation Inc. NY Oct 01, 2015 $49,796
Business Writer Grubmarket, Inc. Newark, CA Jul 09, 2015 $45,000

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Top Skills for A Business Writer

  1. Web
  2. Business Plans
  3. Financial Services
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared internal, web-based communications, created automated SharePoint taxonomies and document templates.
  • Generated and maintained efficient turnaround time in delivery of business plans.
  • Included are cloud computing, social media, crowd-sourcing and their applications in the financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Coordinated and enhanced 1,000+ online attorney bios for website and 1,000+ additional bios for Martindale-Hubbell.
  • Formulated, wrote and edited SEC compliance-critical venture marketing brochures, business plans, disclosure documents and press releases.

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Top 10 Best States for Business Writers

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Washington
  3. Virginia
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Colorado
  6. North Carolina
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Louisiana
  9. New Mexico
  10. Maryland
  • (75 jobs)
  • (52 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (91 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)

Top Business Writer Employers

Jobs From Top Business Writer Employers

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