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Become A Technical Writer And Editor

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Working As A Technical Writer And Editor

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $47,458

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical Writer And Editor Do

Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

Duties

Editors typically do the following:

  • Read content and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
  • Rewrite text to make it easier for readers to understand
  • Verify facts using standard reference sources
  • Evaluate submissions from writers to decide what to publish
  • Work with writers to help their ideas and stories succeed
  • Develop story and content ideas according to the publication’s style and editorial policy
  • Allocate space for the text, photos, and illustrations that make up a story
  • Approve final versions submitted by staff

Editors plan, coordinate, and revise material for publication in books, newspapers, magazines, or websites. Editors review story ideas and decide what material will appeal most to readers. During the review process, editors offer comments to improve the product, and suggest titles and headlines. In smaller organizations, a single editor may perform all of the editorial duties or share them with only a few other people.

The following are examples of types of editors:

Copy editors review text for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling and check for readability, style, and agreement with editorial policy. They suggest revisions, such as changing words and rearranging sentences and paragraphs to improve clarity or accuracy. They also may carry out research, confirm sources for writers, and verify facts, dates, and statistics. In addition, they may arrange page layouts of articles, photographs, and advertising.

Publication assistants who work for book-publishing houses may read and evaluate manuscripts submitted by freelance writers, proofread uncorrected drafts, and answer questions about published material. Assistants on small newspapers or in smaller media markets may compile articles available from wire services or the Internet, answer phones, and proofread articles.

Assistant editors are responsible for a particular subject, such as local news, international news, feature stories, or sports. Most assistant editors work for newspaper publishers, television broadcasters, magazines, book publishers, or advertising and public relations firms.

Executive editors oversee assistant editors and generally have the final say about what stories are published and how they are covered. Executive editors typically hire writers, reporters, and other employees. They also plan budgets and negotiate contracts with freelance writers, who are sometimes called “stringers” in the news industry. Although many executive editors work for newspaper publishers, some work for television broadcasters, magazines, or advertising and public relations firms.

Managing editors typically work for magazines, newspaper publishers, and television broadcasters, and are responsible for the daily operations of a news department.

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How To Become A Technical Writer And Editor

A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, combined with previous writing and proofreading experience, is typically required to be an editor.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English. They also prefer candidates with mass- or cross-media experience.

Those with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with specific subject matter may need previous related work experience. For example, fashion editors may need expertise in fashion that they gain through formal training or work experience.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many editors start off as editorial assistants, writers, or reporters.

Those who are particularly skilled at identifying good stories, recognizing writing talent, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs. 

Other Experience

Editors also can gain experience by working on high school and college newspapers, and for magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. Magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. For example, the American Society of Magazine Editors offers a Magazine Internship Program to qualified full-time students in their junior or senior year of college. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain general publishing experience.

The ability to use computers is necessary for editors to stay in touch with writers and other editors and to work on the increasingly important digital media or online side of a publication. Familiarity with electronic publishing, graphics, Web design, and multimedia production is also important, because more content is being offered online.

Advancement

Some editors hold management positions and must make decisions related to running a business. For them, advancement generally means moving up to publications with larger circulation or greater prestige. Copy editors may move into original writing or substantive editing positions, or become freelancers.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Editors must be creative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics. Some editors must regularly come up with interesting story ideas and attention-grabbing headlines.

Detail oriented. One of an editor’s main tasks is to make sure that material is error free and matches the style of a publication.

Good judgment. Editors must decide if certain stories are ethical or if there is enough evidence to report them.

Interpersonal skills. In working with writers, editors must have tact and the ability to guide and encourage them in their work.

Writing skills. Editors must ensure that all written content has correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Editors must be able to write clearly and logically.

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Technical Writer And Editor jobs

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Technical Writer And Editor Career Paths

Technical Writer And Editor
Business Analyst Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Product Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Writer Author Editor
Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Consultant Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Marketing Manager Business Manager
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Writer Managing Editor Project Manager
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
10 Yearsyrs
Proposal Manager Senior Project Manager Marketing Consultant
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contract Technical Writer Senior Technical Writer Project Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contract Technical Writer Document Specialist Technical Writer
Proposal Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Proposal Manager Technical Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer And Editor Senior Technical Writer Business Analyst
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer Business Analyst Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Proposal Writer Proposal Manager
Senior Proposal Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Proposal Writer Writer And Editor
Senior Technical Writer
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Editor/Copy Writer 3.3 years
Technical Writer 3.2 years
Writer And Editor 3.1 years
Technical Editor 3.0 years
Lead Writer 2.9 years
Editor 2.6 years
Proposal Writer 2.2 years
Writer 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Editor 6.1%
Teacher 2.5%
Consultant 2.4%
Internship 1.9%
Writer 1.8%
Top Employers After
Editor 4.3%
Consultant 2.9%
Writer 2.1%
Owner 1.3%

Technical Writer And Editor Demographics

Gender

Female

57.8%

Male

40.4%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

83.8%

Asian

7.3%

Hispanic or Latino

6.5%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.9%

French

18.9%

German

7.4%

Japanese

6.3%

Russian

4.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Chinese

2.1%

Mandarin

2.1%

Persian

2.1%

Hindi

2.1%

Korean

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Italian

2.1%

Hungarian

1.1%

Norwegian

1.1%

Bosnian

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Croatian

1.1%
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Technical Writer And Editor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.4%

George Mason University

8.0%

University of Washington

8.0%

Brigham Young University

5.4%

University of Houston

5.4%

University of Maryland - University College

5.0%

University of New Mexico

5.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

University of Texas at Austin

4.6%

University of Central Florida

4.6%

University of North Texas

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.2%

Texas Tech University

4.2%

Northeastern University

4.2%

Texas State University

3.8%

Old Dominion University

3.8%

Towson University

3.8%

University of Alabama at Huntsville

3.8%
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Majors

English

26.2%

Writing

11.4%

Business

9.6%

Communication

7.9%

Journalism

7.2%

Public Relations

6.3%

History

3.0%

Education

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Psychology

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Management

2.5%

Computer Science

2.2%

Project Management

2.0%

Information Technology

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.8%

Graphic Design

1.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.8%

Educational Technology

1.7%

Law

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.3%

Masters

28.2%

Other

12.7%

Certificate

5.9%

Associate

4.2%

Doctorate

3.0%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Technical Writer And Editor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Writers and Editors Microsoft Corporation Fargo, ND Aug 24, 2010 $71,000
Technical Writer/Editor Cortech, LLC Tempe, AZ Jul 08, 2013 $66,784
Biblical Curriculum Technical Writer/Editor Glossa Ordinaria, LLC Castle Rock, CO Oct 01, 2012 $65,000
Technical Writer/Editor Tai Foong USA, Inc. Seattle, WA Mar 01, 2011 $57,768
Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Sep 21, 2013 $57,000
Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Oct 01, 2012 $51,800
Art Technical Writer/Editor Kang Collection Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2016 $49,796
Staff Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Nov 08, 2013 $49,000
Technical Writer/Editor F. O. USA, Inc. New York, NY Jan 03, 2011 $47,458
Technical Editor & Writer Organization for Cultural Exchange Among Nations Tempe, AZ Oct 01, 2011 $46,039
Technical Writer/Editor Duo Creative Communications Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2012 $42,037
Technical Writer/Editor of History Stackpole, Inc. New York, NY Oct 02, 2010 $41,350 -
$65,415
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Sep 14, 2011 $40,000
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks Oklahoma City, OK Sep 14, 2011 $40,000
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks, Inc. Waco, TX Sep 14, 2011 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Technical Writer And Editor

ProceduresProposalsTechnicalDocumentationWebContentSubjectMatterExpertsTechnicalManualsSmesTechnicalDataSharepointPowerpointAdobeFramemakerTrainingMaterialsVisioUserManualsUserGuidesHtmlSafetyTechnicalPublicationsXMLProjectManagement

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Top Technical Writer And Editor Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Proposals
  3. Technical Documentation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Streamlined existing upstream Standard Operating Procedures to meet new company and FDA standards
  • Assisted in writing proposals to government specifications.
  • Researched and produced technical documentation for ADP users at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport.
  • Create, edit and maintain web content, ensure continuity and coordinate activity with project manager.
  • Coordinate the development of glossary entries by a wide range of national subject matter experts.

Top Technical Writer And Editor Employers

Technical Writer And Editor Videos

Writing Career Advice : How to Become Technical Writer

Technical Writing 101: Introduction to Technical Writing

Making Your Living as a Technical Writer (AWP Career Services Web Series)

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