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Technical Writers

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What Do Technical Writers Do?

Technical Writer Definition Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.

Daily Life Of a Technical Writer

  • Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material.
  • Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
  • Review manufacturer’s and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment.
  • Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material.
  • Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.
  • Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.

Skills Needed to be a Technical Writer

Below is a list of the skills most Technical Writers say are important on the job.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Technical Writer Jobs

  • Quality Analyst/Technical Writer
  • Documentation Specialist
  • Document Specialist
  • Senior Technical Editor
  • Health Science Writer

Technical Writer Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 52,400 jobs for Technical Writers in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,700 new jobs for Technical Writers by 2026. The BLS estimates 5,700 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Technical Writers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Technical Writers are California, Texas, and Florida.

Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Hawaii, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Technical Writer Salary

The average yearly salary of a Technical Writer ranges between $43,110 and $114,930. A Technical Writer median salary is $71,850.

Salary Ranges for Technical Writers

How much do Technical Writers make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$91,310

Massachusetts

$89,630

Washington

$86,470

District of Columbia

$86,120

Virginia

$85,450

New Jersey

$84,280

Connecticut

$81,290

Colorado

$80,250

Maryland

$80,130

Delaware

$77,010

New Mexico

$76,640

New York

$76,380

North Carolina

$76,070

New Hampshire

$76,020

Georgia

$75,170

Texas

$75,000

Vermont

$74,730

Alaska

$72,250

Kentucky

$71,610

Pennsylvania

$70,060

Alabama

$69,970

Arizona

$69,580

Illinois

$69,320

Michigan

$68,580

Oregon

$68,320

Louisiana

$68,120

Mississippi

$67,680

Rhode Island

$67,200

South Carolina

$67,000

Minnesota

$66,970

Utah

$66,940

Tennessee

$66,080

Nevada

$66,040

Indiana

$65,130

Maine

$65,030

Wyoming

$64,010

Ohio

$63,340

Florida

$62,710

Hawaii

$62,070

Kansas

$62,020

Idaho

$61,710

Arkansas

$61,030

Nebraska

$60,580

Wisconsin

$59,480

Missouri

$58,840

Oklahoma

$57,450

Iowa

$57,060

North Dakota

$56,140

Montana

$55,700

South Dakota

$50,320

West Virginia

$40,210

Tools & Technologies Used by Technical Writers

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Technical Writers:

  • Git
  • SAP Business Objects
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft ASP.NET
  • PTC Creo Parametric
  • Atlassian JIRA
  • Microsoft Word

How to Become a Technical Writer

Individuals working as Technical Writers have obtained the following education levels:

Technical Writer Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Technical Writer?

Technical Writer Work Experience

Where do Technical Writers Work?

Technical Writer Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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