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Become A Senior Writer

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Working As A Senior 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

  • $92,482

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior 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 Senior 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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Senior Writer Jobs

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Senior Writer Career Paths

Senior Writer
Creative Director Marketing Consultant Marketing Director
Brand Director
11 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Communications Manager Senior Copywriter
Brand Strategist
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Editor Communications Specialist Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Managing Editor
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Director Marketing And Communication Consultant Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Consultant Communications Manager Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Editor Communications Director Marketing Director
Director Of Digital Marketing
10 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Communications Director Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing & Development
9 Yearsyrs
Content Manager Producer Freelance Producer
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Author Technical Writer Senior Technical Writer
Knowledge Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Director Of Communications And Marketing Communications Director
Marketing And Communication Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Project Manager Product Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Social Media Strategist Social Media Manager
Marketing/Social Media Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Author Project Coordinator Communications Coordinator
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Marketing Director Public Relations Consultant
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer City Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Writer And Editor Content Manager
Senior Content Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Director Writer And Editor Content Manager
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Senior Writer Demographics

Gender

Male

53.5%

Female

45.1%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

65.4%

Hispanic or Latino

12.5%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.4%

French

16.3%

German

8.7%

Italian

5.8%

Mandarin

3.8%

Korean

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Russian

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Hebrew

1.9%

Swahili

1.0%

Swedish

1.0%

Gujarati

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Lithuanian

1.0%

Afrikaans

1.0%

Finnish

1.0%

Irish

1.0%
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Senior Writer Education

Schools

New York University

8.5%

Syracuse University

7.8%

Boston University

6.1%

Michigan State University

5.8%

Northwestern University

5.8%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.8%

Temple University

5.4%

American University

5.4%

University of Iowa

5.1%

University of Colorado at Boulder

5.1%

University of Texas at Austin

4.4%

Harvard University

4.4%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

4.4%

University of California - Berkeley

4.1%

Georgetown University

3.7%

Emerson College

3.7%

University of Washington

3.7%

University of Central Florida

3.7%

University of Illinois University Administration

3.4%

University of Florida

3.4%
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Majors

Journalism

19.5%

English

18.5%

Communication

11.0%

Writing

8.3%

Business

5.8%

Political Science

4.2%

Marketing

3.7%

History

3.6%

Public Relations

3.1%

Photography

3.0%

Fine Arts

2.9%

Psychology

2.3%

Agricultural Public Services

2.0%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Advertising

2.0%

Law

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.6%

Journalism And Mass Communications

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.7%

Masters

28.4%

Other

12.0%

Doctorate

3.9%

Certificate

2.6%

Associate

2.0%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Real Senior Writer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Writer 72Andsunny LP Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2010 $165,000
Senior Writer, Advertising 72Andsunny Partners LLC Vista, CA Sep 11, 2015 $155,000
Senior Writer Droga5, LLC New York, NY Jul 31, 2013 $150,000
Senior Writer Aesop USA, Inc. New York, NY Jul 13, 2015 $140,000
Senior Writer 72Andsunny Partners LLC Vista, CA Jan 06, 2016 $135,000
Senior Writer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 09, 2014 $134,463
Senior Writer, Advertising 72Andsunny Partners LLC Vista, CA Sep 30, 2013 $125,000
Senior Writer 72Andsunny LP Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2010 $120,000
Senior Writer Riot Games, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Apr 15, 2014 $119,517 -
$156,083
Senior Writer Deloitte Consulting LLP San Francisco, CA Feb 26, 2016 $115,000
Senior Writer Heat Ventures LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 12, 2015 $115,000 -
$135,000
Senior Writer, Emerging Markets Institutional Investor LLC New York, NY Dec 15, 2015 $105,000
Senior Writer, Emerging Markets Metal Bulletin Holding Corporation New York, NY Dec 30, 2015 $105,000
Senior Writer, Emerging Markets Institutional Investor LLC New York, NY Mar 09, 2015 $105,000
Senior Writer, Emerging Markets Institutional Investor LLC New York, NY Mar 09, 2013 $100,000
Senior Writer Thestreet.Com, Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2013 $92,000
Senior Writer The Street Inc. New York, NY Nov 01, 2012 $92,000
Senior Writer, Post-War & Contemporary Art Christies, Inc. New York, NY Feb 03, 2015 $82,514
Senior Verbal Identity Writer Interbrand Corporation New York, NY Dec 03, 2012 $82,000
Srss Report Writer American Cadastre LLC Herndon, VA Oct 29, 2012 $78,000 -
$91,000
Senior Writer & Web Editorial Manager Issachar Companies, Inc. New York, NY Sep 08, 2015 $75,000
Senior Writer Greentech Media, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Apr 04, 2016 $70,000
Senior Principal Pre-Clinical Writer Pfizer Inc. Pearl River, NY Jan 01, 2010 $70,000 -
$135,100
Senior Writer Greentech Media, Inc. Boston, MA Sep 01, 2014 $60,000 -
$80,000
Senior Writer Riot Games, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jul 07, 2015 $54,392 -
$85,509

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Top Skills for A Senior Writer

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  1. Web
  2. Press Releases
  3. Products
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interacted with editors, physicians, nurses, advertisers, civic leaders, web personnel, and print vendors.
  • Create original content for press releases and KickStarter Campaigns in a deadline-driven environment.
  • Focused on entertainment and creatively incorporating products into humorous write-ups to generate buzz and subsequent web traffic.
  • Composed stories for Headline News on a wide range of topics, including news stories, features and analysis pieces.
  • Compose engaging and informative magazine-style feature stories related to automotive topics in order to increase traffic.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Writers

  1. Washington
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. District of Columbia
  6. North Carolina
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. Maryland
  10. Colorado
  • (149 jobs)
  • (209 jobs)
  • (686 jobs)
  • (338 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (155 jobs)
  • (131 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (208 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)

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