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.
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.
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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Build a professional technical writer resume in minutes. Browse through our resume examples to identify the best way to word your resume. Then choose from 12+ resume templates to create your technical writer resume.
Technical Writer2018 - Present
English Instructor2014 - 2018
Indiana University Northwest•Bloomington, IN
Writing Instructor2012 - 2014
Indiana University Northwest•Bloomington, IN
Doctoral Degree English2004 - 2007
George Mason University•Fairfax, VA
Master's Degree Linguistics1998 - 1999
University of Delaware•Newark, DE
Bachelor's Degree English1990 - 1993
Florida State University•Tallahassee, FL
Learn How To Write a Technical Writer Resume
At Zippia, we went through countless Technical Writer resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.View Technical Writer Resume Examples And Templates
Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Technical Writer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Technical Writer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.
After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:
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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.
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, Maine, California, and Vermont. Technical Writers make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $90,033. Whereas in Maine and California, they would average $83,483 and $82,747, respectively. While Technical Writers would only make an average of $82,363 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.
2. District of Columbia
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 $111,993. IBM follows up with an average salary of $81,420, and then comes Lockheed Martin with an average of $78,604. 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 Flagstar Bank, Novetta Solutions, and Pfizer
It takes 7 years of professional experience to become a technical writer. That is the time it takes to learn specific technical writer skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 10 to 12 years years to become a technical writer.
Yes, technical writers are in demand. Because of the growing reliance on the internet for the conveyance of accessible information, the need for technical writing is growing substantially.
It is not particularly hard to become a technical writer. For basic entry-level positions as a technical writer, a bachelor's degree is usually sufficient. Degrees in communications, business, and computer science are common for technical writers, but the specific degree will depend heavily on the individual's career path.
Yes, technical writing is a good career. A technical writing career often includes plenty of opportunities for career growth and high earning potential. For individuals who enjoy writing, a career as a technical writer can be an excellent choice.
Yes, technical writing is hard. Though perhaps difficult, technical writing can be a very rewarding challenge.
Technical writers must take complex concepts and render them accessible and engaging. While this can be very challenging, it is much easier to do if the position suits your interests and strengths.
To be a technical writer, the qualification that you need is a bachelor's degree. For basic entry-level positions as a technical writer, a bachelor's degree and relevant knowledge of the topic are usually the only required qualifications.