Find The Best Technical Writer Jobs For You

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Average Salary
$63,424
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,195
Job Openings

Technical Writer Careers

Technical writers have a specific area that they are very knowledgable about. And that means they're desperately sought after by companies. Not only are technical writers knowledgable about a certain subject, but they're able to write clearly about it, too. Talk about being talented.

A lot of the time, you'll review documents that may prove difficult to digest, due to technical terminology. However, with your expertise you should be able to figure it out in no time. And then, of course, write about it in a way that's digestable for the public.

Technical writing is a great job, due to how many jobs there are out there. You could be a technical writer for anything from an auto shop to the medical industry. Plus, the career is growing every day. You should see where technical writing can take you. We'll bet it'll surprise you.

What Does a Technical 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.

How To Become a Technical 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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Average Salary
$63,424
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,195
Job Openings

Technical Writer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Technical Writer

Top Careers After Technical Writer

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Technical Writer

Technical Writers in America make an average salary of $63,424 per year or $30 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $85,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Salary
$63,424

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range63k - 95k$78k$77,511
Natick, MA
Salary Range64k - 93k$77k$77,271
Seattle, WA
Salary Range59k - 96k$76k$75,649
Washington, DC
Salary Range57k - 83k$69k$69,030
Edison, NJ
Salary Range54k - 79k$66k$66,136
Alexandria, VA
Salary Range54k - 79k$66k$65,902
$39k
$96k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Technical Writer/Manufacturing Planner 3
Technical Writer/Manufacturing Planner 3
Kforce
Kforce
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$73,04503/30/2021
$73,045
Sales & Marketing-Technical Writer
Sales & Marketing-Technical Writer
Aerotek
Aerotek
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$73,04503/30/2021
$73,045
Analyst/Technical Writer
Analyst/Technical Writer
Randstad
Randstad
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$33,39203/29/2021
$33,392
Dhs/Dfcs Technical Writer
Dhs/Dfcs Technical Writer
Georgia Department of Revenue
Georgia Department of Revenue
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$51,81103/29/2021
$51,811
Technical Writer
Technical Writer
Leidos
Leidos
03/26/2021
03/26/2021
$68,90003/26/2021
$68,900
See More Recent Salaries

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Technical Writer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Technical Writer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Technical Writer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Technical Writer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Technical Writer Demographics

Gender

female

48.1 %

male

48.1 %

unknown

3.8 %

Ethnicity

White

77.1 %

Asian

8.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.9 %

French

16.6 %

German

9.8 %
See More Demographics

Technical Writer Education

Majors

English
23.6 %
Business
11.4 %
Writing
8.6 %

Degrees

Bachelors

65.8 %

Masters

10.6 %

Associate

10.3 %

Top Colleges for Technical Writers

1. University of Houston

Houston, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,913
Enrollment
37,291

2. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,830
Enrollment
29,474

3. Texas State University

San Marcos, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,280
Enrollment
34,187

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

8. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,853
Enrollment
14,759

9. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

10. Emerson College

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$46,852
Enrollment
3,817
See More Education Info
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Internship
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Top Skills For a Technical Writer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 7.9% of technical writers listed technical documentation on their resume, but soft skills such as imagination and technical skills are important as well.

  • Technical Documentation, 7.9%
  • Subject Matter Experts, 7.1%
  • Powerpoint, 5.2%
  • Technical Information, 4.4%
  • Training Materials, 3.7%
  • Other Skills, 71.7%
  • See All Technical Writer Skills

Best States For a Technical Writer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a technical writer. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Vermont. Technical writers make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $77,262. Whereas in Washington and California, they would average $74,825 and $72,236, respectively. While technical writers would only make an average of $69,791 in Vermont, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Technical Writer Jobs:
312
Highest 10% Earn:
$97,000
Location Quotient:
1.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Maine

Total Technical Writer Jobs:
132
Highest 10% Earn:
$97,000
Location Quotient:
1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. West Virginia

Total Technical Writer Jobs:
124
Highest 10% Earn:
$98,000
Location Quotient:
0.81
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Technical Writer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ technical writers and discovered their number of technical writer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Microsoft was the best, especially with an average salary of $94,624. IBM follows up with an average salary of $82,308, and then comes Lockheed Martin with an average of $77,539. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a technical writer. The employers include TEKsystems, Molina Healthcare, and Computer Aid

1. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$94,624
Technical Writers Hired: 
251+
2. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$82,308
Technical Writers Hired: 
229+
3. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$77,539
Technical Writers Hired: 
195+
4. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$69,302
Technical Writers Hired: 
148+
5. Boeing
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$77,017
Technical Writers Hired: 
148+
6. HP
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$81,172
Technical Writers Hired: 
143+