What is the Technical Writer Career Path?
Technical writing is a great opportunity to write and earn well, but only if you can keep the required skills up to date. As the world is evolving, so is the technical writing industry. This means that if you are a technical writer, make sure that you can keep yourself up to date with its terms and regulations. If you do so, there’s no doubt that you will land a well-paying technical writing job.
What is the Technical Writer Career Path?
It is seamless for writers to make the transition to technical writing based on their experience. While shifting from a completely different field to technical writing gets tricky and thus requires more effort and struggle for beginners to master it. But what is the career path for technical writers? Let’s dive into more details.
If you wish to become a technical writer, there’s good news for you that no specific college degree or certification is required, and you can join the community of tech writers based on writing skills. But it is recommended to join online courses and stay updated with the technical writing knowledge to gain more experience. Technical Writer HQ offers multiple technical writing certificates that will help you nourish your technical writing skills.
If you want to gain more exposure, then join the writing internship opportunities in the engineering and IT fields. Such fields require more technical knowledge, and you can cherish your skills.
Most technical writers earn $60-70k annually. The employment rate is also expected to rise by 200% by 2029. Hence there’s no doubt that you can earn well by joining the technical writing industry.
What Does a Technical Writer's Career Path Look Like?
We have already covered who technical writers are, and what industries are the most demanded in, now let’s see what the technical writers' career path looks like. Here are mentioned some of the detailed career choices you can have as a technical writer:
Technical writers develop internal and external organization documents for company employees and consumer usage. These documents range usually are white papers, press releases, user manuals/guides, technical reviews, how-to-manuals, and technical tutorials.
The major job responsibilities of technical writers are mentioned below:
- Works closely with multiple departments to understand an ongoing project
- Researches, drafts, edits, and writes new project content
- Independently communicates with project developers and experts to gather required data
- Uses the gathered information in writing project specifications, documentation, and how-to guides
- Recommends better solutions for the data compilation
- Formulates the prepared guides and documents in multiple ways to have their maximum utilization and usability
- Minimum bachelor's degree in the most pertinent technical field
- 1-2 years of proven technical background
- Capable to learn and adapt to a complex working environment
- Technical documentation writing skills
- Written and verbal English skills
- Technical communication skills
Senior Technical Writer
A senior technical writer knows to efficiently manage a team of technical writers. His duties involve writing the buying guides, detailed scripts, technical support documentation, and also training junior staff to bring out the maximum work efficiency. Here are mentioned the work responsibilities of a senior tech-writer:
- Comprehends complex topics and transforms them into a user-readable and structured document
- Effectively collaborates with inter-department and intra-department’s stakeholders and technical staff
- Exhibits leadership and collaborative traits as a senior
- Advises and helps junior writers to have the maximum workforce efficiency
- Creates online worksheets
- Stays in touch with the development team for the documentation
- Regularly updates the team with feedback and reviews received from technical specialists
- Bachelor's degree in a relevant technical subject
- 4-6 years of proven experience as a technical writer
- Proficient to manage the junior team
- Exhibits Great leadership qualities
- Skillful in more complex projects
- Extensive technical communication skills
Junior Technical Writer
The junior technical writer supports and assists the team in finding the source materials and files for documentation. Junior technical writers also ensure the correct usage of pre-defined guidelines for the documentation process. They also gather complex and technical information which is later used in documentation. They also write grant proposals. Here are mentioned some in-depth work duties for entry-level technical writers:
- Updates the already written technical content
- Collaborates with the documentation team to draft readable technical content
- Reviews the analytics and suggest relevant edits on technical writers work
- Embeds the user feedback in an appropriate way
- Edits the user guides to improve voice tone for the readers
- Suggests easy methodologies and revamps the existing content
- Bachelor's degree from Computer Science or the relevant technical field
- 0-2 years of technical writing experience
- Excellent communications skills
- Excellent project management and technical skills
- Familiar with quality assurance reviews and documentation guidelines
- Skillful in using analytics tools
- Great at incorporating feedback into the work
Technical Writer Editor
A technical writer-editor edits, proofreads, revises, and updates the technical documentation. The technical editor also makes sure the correct use of grammar, punctuation, and technical writing rules. A technical editor ensures the correct use of format throughout the technical document. A tech editor has also experience handling complex information. Here is mentioned a list of primary responsibilities for a technical writer-editor:
- Closely works and collaborates with senior/junior technical writer team to ensure work precision
- Suggests insightful edits
- Reviews and fact-checks the drafted documentation content
- Drafts easy to work templates and guidelines for writers
- Conducts quality assurance tests on the complex information in technical guidelines
- Bachelor’s in Journalism, English, or relevant technical field
- Proven technical writing experience
- Carries in-depth information on technicalities and documentation guidelines
- Strong at editing, reviewing, re-writing, beta-reading, and formating
- Skillful to comprehend complex technical information
- Finalizes the written content for the publication
A documentation manager manages and verifies the availability of the technical supporting documents. He also supervises external as well as internal audits. A documentation specialist coordinates with the organizational legal staff to draft disclosures and contract agreement documents. Below are mentioned the responsibilities of a documentation manager:
- Coordinates with the technology sector to efficiently manage the handling of technical documents, markups, guides, and SOPs
- Manages the software files and documents and makes them accessible for technical support staff
- Handles the entry and audit of packages, and helps transmit them to owners, subcontractors, and technical communicators
- Reviews the documentation to ensure the precision and work efficiency
- Bachelor/master degree in library sciences or relevant field
- Prior experience in the management sector
- Experienced in document management software
- Strong technical communication and verbal skills
- Goal-oriented and responsible person
- Easily grasps technical knowledge
- Better Inspection abilities
- Excellent web and social media research skills
Is technical writing a good career path?
Tech writing is rewarding in terms of finance and career. As a technical writer, you have better work flexibility which means you are flexible to become a contractor, a freelancer, or a businessman. According to a report, the recruitment rate for technical writer jobs is expected to increase by 12% in the next 10 years.
Hence there’s no doubt that the technical writer job is a great career choice. If you are willing to become a technical writer but still confused about it as a good career choice, you can try evaluating it based on your interest, skills, goals, and the extent to which this field will allow you to nourish your expertise. We’re sure this strategy will help you decide a lot better on choosing a technical writing career.
What Industries Need Technical Writers?
Technical writers are found in almost all industries, but their work is not highlighted to consumers. Consider a scenario. You purchase a new tool but are facing difficulty using it. You will look for an instruction guide that will elaborate on the process of the tool usage. These user guides serve as a ‘communication bridge’ between you and the manufacturing company. Technical writers are responsible for developing these user guides.
If you have the necessary skills as a technical writer, this means that you can work in any industry of your interest. Here are the major industries with a high employment rate for technical writers. You can also find here the details of technical writers’ jobs in those industries:
IT is one of the biggest industries with a high employment rate for technical writers. Software Documentation Writer is the most common job post for technical writers in the IT industry. Software documentation writers help design the policies and legal documents for the software. They are also responsible for writing knowledge-based guides, journal articles, and FAQs.
The must-have requirement for you to become a software documentation writer is to have programming and software development skills. This means, even if you don’t have a software engineering degree or a programmer’s degree, but have the aforementioned skills, you can secure the technical writer’s seat.
The medicine and pharmacy industry has a high demand for technical writers. Medical Writer is the common job post in these industries for technical writers. A medical writer is responsible to write medical-equipment guides, pharmaceutical user guides, white papers, instruction manuals, and medical software documentations.
Medical writing is done with a major focus on the consumer’s readability and comprehension of the written guide. The medical technical writing should have better readability so that it is easier for the consumer to follow the instructions and precautions. Although, having an MBBS degree is not a mandatory requirement but it is preferred along with prior knowledge for medication standards, warnings, and pharmaceutical precautions for a technical writer’s seat in this industry.
Engineers are good at manufacturing innovative machines and tools but are not considered professionals when it comes to writing user guides. This is why the engineering and manufacturing sectors have high recruitment rates for technical writers.
A manufacturing writer’s job duties involve preparing user instruction manuals, machine tutorials, and manufacturing guides. The Comprehension of technical processes becomes a lot easier for employees and consumers through these user instruction manuals.
Government authorities hire technical writers to draft admin guidance papers, policy documents, laws and regulations, senate documents, and inspection reports. As these technical documents are exposed to the public community, the main writing focus is the user readability and comprehension in this case.
Cybersecurity/Contract Technical Writer is the most common job post in the government industry. The job description is to write user security guides and contract documentation. Hence it is preferred to have a degree in Journals along with the required expertise to secure a government technical writer’s seat.
A Finance college degree can help you secure a technical writer’s job post in the insurance industry. Insurance companies usually have separate departments for technical writers. The job description of a technical writer involves drafting compliance forms and insurance agreements. It is recommended for you to obtain a compliance certificate that can vow on your skills. It is also preferred to know the insurance company’s laws, rules, and regulations to secure a job in the insurance industry.
One of the major Insurance company’s technical writer’s job posts is Insurance Documentation Writer. The hiring manager recruits candidates who can fill the required skills and expertise but is good to have certificates and awards that make you stand out from the crowd.
A tech writer's main job is to prepare instruction manuals, guides, tutorials to disseminate technical information to the consumers. Technical writing jobs are not confined to one industry but are spread across various sectors with completely different backdrops. No matter what educational background you have, if you are interested in joining technical writing and you possess the necessary skills, you can always give it a try and see if it works best for you.
Technical writing is rewarding financially, and its demand will increase as the world is increasing technologically.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where 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.