Technical writing involves the creation of instruction manuals and support documents for hardware and software products. These documents typically combine text with graphs, illustrations and multimedia. Technical writers work with product developers, such as engineers, to come up with plans and layouts for the technical documents. Many help and how-to documents are published online these days so documents technical writers create can also include FAQs and support files that are updated as needed.
According to the 2012 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor (BLS) there were 49,500 technical writing jobs in the U.S. in 2012. Most of these jobs were in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry. Technical writers are also employed in the manufacturing and information industries. The BLS says most technical writers are employed full-time by the companies that need them. There is some freelance technical work available. The downside with freelancing is you miss out on benefits but it would allow you more time to work on other forms of writing.Technical Writing Pay
Technical writers typically earn more than people in other media and communications positions. The BLS says that in 2012 the average income for a technical writer was $65,500. The top earning 10% of technical writers made over $101,600 per year and the lowest earning 10% made $38.700 per year. The number of technical writing positions is projected to grow by 15% from 2012 through 2022.Technical Writing Job Skills
Many employers of technical writers are looking for someone with a technical background, such as a computer or engineering degree, plus a degree in journalism or communications. As with any type of career past experience is always a plus. Some established authors we have interviewed have used technical writing for income while they worked on their novel. The pay is good in technical writing so it provides a solid way for would-be novelists to earn a living during the day and work on their novel at night.
Technical Writing Links
Don't miss our large collection of technical writing links to resources, trade publications, organizations, articles, computer book publishers and technical dictionaries.
Technical Writing Certification
Find out about technical writing certification and the CTPC exam.
Technical Writing Jobs
Find a list of resources where you find technical writing job listings.
Review: Making Money In Technical Writing
A review of Peter Kent's book about technical writing.