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Technical Writer

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What Does it Take to Be a Technical Writer?

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

Technical Writer Responsibilities

  • Draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence.
  • Assist in laying out material for publication.
  • Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding.
  • Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
  • Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material.
  • Develop or maintain online help documentation.

What a Technical Writer Should Know

These are the skills Technical Writers say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Health Technical Writer
  • Process Description Writer
  • Scientific Writer
  • Medical Writer
  • Handbook Writer

Job Opportunities for Technical Writers

In the United States, there were 52,400 jobs for Technical Writer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,700 new jobs for Technical Writer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 5,700 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Technical Writer are Nevada, Utah, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Hawaii, or Illinois. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Technical Writer Make?

The typical yearly salary for Technical Writers is somewhere between $43,110 and $114,930.

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Technical Writers who work in California, Washington, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

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

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $69,970
Alaska $72,250
Arizona $69,580
Arkansas $61,030
California $91,310
Colorado $80,250
Connecticut $81,290
Delaware $77,010
District of Columbia $86,120
Florida $62,710
Georgia $75,170
Hawaii $62,070
Idaho $61,710
Illinois $69,320
Indiana $65,130
Iowa $57,060
Kansas $62,020
Kentucky $71,610
Louisiana $68,120
Maine $65,030
Maryland $80,130
Massachusetts $89,630
Michigan $68,580
Minnesota $66,970
Mississippi $67,680
Missouri $58,840
Montana $55,700
Nebraska $60,580
Nevada $66,040
New Hampshire $76,020
New Jersey $84,280
New Mexico $76,640
New York $76,380
North Carolina $76,070
North Dakota $56,140
Ohio $63,340
Oklahoma $57,450
Oregon $68,320
Pennsylvania $70,060
Rhode Island $67,200
South Carolina $67,000
South Dakota $50,320
Tennessee $66,080
Texas $75,000
Utah $66,940
Vermont $74,730
Virginia $85,450
Washington $86,470
West Virginia $40,210
Wisconsin $59,480
Wyoming $64,010

What Tools & Technology do Technical Writers Use?

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

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Git
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • SAS
  • IBM Notes

How to Become a Technical Writer

Learn what Technical Writer education requirements there are.

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

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Where Technical Writers Work

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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References:

Image Credit: KOKUYO via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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