What Does an Entry-level Technical Writer Do?

Updated on December 22nd, 2021

An entry-level technical writer makes the best use of their writing skills and technical knowledge to create easy-to-understand copies and descriptions of a product. According to popular salary reporting platforms Glassdoor, the average entry-level technical writer salary lies between the $46,000 and $133,000 range.

Although they have fewer responsibilities than a seasoned technical writer, entry-level technical writers perform similar tasks, such as:

  • Write instruction manuals
  • Convey technical information such as data and engineering reports via clear copies
  • Write/Edit scientific publication
  • Write customer-ready content

An early-stage technical writer might have fewer responsibilities and work, but as they develop and specialize in a specific technology, their salary grows over time.

The compensation depends on several aspects such as geographical location, company size, and starting experience and education.

Average Entry-Level Technical Writer Salaries

Entry-level technical writer salary is lower than for a technical writer or a senior technical writer. Let's explore average salaries for entry-level technical writing jobs.

ZipRecruiter

For an entry-level technical writer, the base salary ranges between $38,000 and $48,000 according to ZipRecruiter.

Having a diversity of $10,000 indicates the variety of tasks an average technical writer needs. There's a significant difference between conveying technical information to users and writing technical reports in healthcare. Although an entry-level technical writer, a beginner writer in healthcare might have a previous career as a healthcare technician. Their previous scientific education and experience can increase the starting base salary.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor lists $70,795 as the average entry-level technical writer salary, which is significantly higher than what ZipRecruiter lists.

The possible reason is that websites such as Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter collect their data from multiple sources, one of them being writers directly.

Other elements such as additional job responsibilities (create visuals and graphics), critical thinking skills, and education (bachelor's degree in English, communication, or computer science) impact the salary. Depending on what aspects a certain job website takes into account, the end base compensation varies.

Salary.com

Salary.com lists $59,001 as median pay for entry-level technical writers. Salary.com accounts for every job description on their website and takes information from there.

The median salary is the most frequent salary for entry-level tech writing jobs. The salary range according to Salary.com is from $46,583 to $71,419.

The popular compensation website takes multiple factors, including education (minimum bachelor's degree), certificates, different skills, and job experience.

Expected Average Technical Writer Salary

As mentioned earlier, the average base salary differs depending on location, organization, education, etc. For example, according to Zippia, San Francisco is one of the most highest paying cities for technical writers. The average technical writer salary in Golden City is $77,511. This is well above the national average salary of $68,555 and the median wage of $70,300.

But although San Francisco is one of the top cities, most technical writers work in Houston, TX, and New York, NY. Due to constant demand, the average technical writer's salary differs greatly between industries and location.

As writers develop their craft, their average salary can go between $80,200 and $97,400 for senior writers.

Career Outlook for an Entry-Level Technical Writer

As the name suggests, an entry-level technical writer is at the start of their professional journey. Therefore, there are many opportunities for them to gain crucial professional experience and move on to more senior and well-paying roles.

After earning significant experience and building a solid body of work as an entry-level professional, the individual can move on to a technical writer position. Afterwards, they can become a senior technical writer after gaining experience. Finally, with enough work under their belt, the writer can become a lead technical writer and supervise a team of entry-level technical writers.

The average compensations for more senior positions on the technical writer career path (as per Glassdoor and reported in March 2022) are given below:

Technical Writer

This role is the same as the entry-level position but comes after gaining experience through different writing assignments. The technical role recieves an average annual compensation of $77,984.

Senior Technical Writer

This role has to handle more prominent writing tasks and supervise quality control of more important documentation assignments. The senior technical writer position receives an average total annual pay of $111,028. Organizations expect two to four years of professional technical writing experience for this job position.

You need the right skills and guidance to advance to more serious and well-paying technical writing roles. If you want to pursue a certification that can provide you with such guidance and skills, you should check the technical writing certification at TechnicalWriterHQ.

Top Paying Cities for Entry-Level Technical Writers

As per Salary.com, the cities with the top-paying entry-level technical writing positions, categorized by location in the U.S., are given below.

U.S. West Coast

  • Washington: $66,101
  • Phoenix: $58,101

U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains

  • Chicago: $61,101
  • Denver: $58,401

U.S. South

  • Dallas: $58,401
  • Orlando: $56,501

Education Level for Entry-Level Technical Writer Role

An entry-level technical writer is just starting in the industry and needs the right qualifications to break into an exciting role. Additionally, solid academic qualifications and certifications help them receive more impressive pay while leading to more senior positions.

An entry-level technical writer requires a robust portfolio containing material within a niche and diverse writings. Academically, organizations expect the ideal entry-level technical writer to have a Bachelor's in the field they are focusing on, creative writing or English.

There are many certifications explicitly designed for entry-level technical writers to build a strong body of work that lands them exciting job opportunities. Some prominent ones are mentioned below:

  • TechnicalWriterHQ: Their technical writing course aims to teach you all you need to know about the craft and help you build a robust portfolio.
  • Google Developers: It offers technical writing courses that aim to equip technical personnel like software engineers with important writing skills.
  • Oregon State University: They offer a professional technical writing certification covering all kinds of technical writing.

Industries in Which Technical Writers Work

Although technical writers most commonly work in STEM-related companies, the career range goes beyond science and engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are four main industries in which technical writers works:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative and support services
  • Publishing industries

According to the same source, around 35% of writers (including entry-level technical writers), work in scientific firms. Their main job is to write research papers. Since writers are often a part of a bigger time, their job title differs here the most. For example, a technical writer can work as an editor, lead writer, or proofreader. A proofreader ensures that each report is correct by checking resources.

According to their current job title, technical writers can expect a matching salary from employers.

The second most popular industry is manufacturing with 15% of technical writers working there. In manufacturing, writers most often write guides that help users understand the product.

In third place is administration and support with 9% according to Labor Statistics. Unlike in manufacturing, administrative-technical writers ensure a smooth data flow inside companies. They have to streamline communication between teams.

Finally, the fourth most popular industry is publishing with 6% of total writers working there. The writer's editorial capabilities come into play the most since writers need to create descriptions and ensure consistency across published work.

Entry-Level Technical Writer Salary Across Top Companies

As per Glassdoor, here is what the annual average entry-level technical writer salary looks like in some of the top firms across different industries.

  • Apple: $58,814
  • Google: $77,815
  • Sovos: $47,000
  • XMCO: $53,000 

Ending Note

The entry-level technical writer salary depends on industry and location. But, although you might be an entry-level technical writer, that doesn't mean you're just starting your career. Many people become technical writers either as a side-gig to their main profession or after gaining the necessary knowledge.

To get a better salary, you can either specialize or expand your knowledge of different industries.

A great technical writer needs to constantly improve their writing and stay in the loop with everything that goes on in the related businesses.

If you are new to technical writing, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course. You will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.