Career Option For Technical Writers in 2023
Explore the career option for technical writers in this informative article. Whether you are a fresher aspiring to become a technical writer, or a technical writer professional looking for exhilarating career options- you can benefit from this article. Dive right in.
Technical writing refers to the ability to document processes, such as software manuals or instructional materials. It’s a form of communication used in a wide range of areas such as information technology, science, finance, engineering, aerospace, defense, biotechnology, and education to create technical documents to simplify it for common users.
Technical writing uses a wide range of programs and technical skills to create and edit illustrations, diagramming programs to create visual aids, and document editors to design, create, and format documents.
Hence, a technical writer can have different job titles which include technical content developer, technical communicator, information developer, technical documentation specialist, or a technical publications writer or editor.
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Career path for a technical writer
It is no single approach; there are numerous career paths available to technical writers. Not a single or typical way to look at the career path of a technical writer, many who start out working for a company go on to be a successful freelancer career or set up an agency. Some writers move into project management, marketing, or executive-level position.
Movement from technical writer to senior technical writer to manager is possible in some companies but in others, a lone writer can exist. A writer as a technical specialty can move into a position as an analysis, an editor, or trainer.
Some writers specialize in classroom materials and e-learning and transition into an instruction work design work into teaching. Some join companies that specialize in media work or consulting, and some in information architect and web designer options.
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Future for technical writers:
The scope of the job is unlimited. With the rapid growth in technology and electronics demand for the services, it should continue to rise especially for people who are comfortable with changing technology. It is a much rewarding field in terms of career growth, salary, stable jobs, opportunities, and career path.
What the future could hold, the US department of labor accepts employment of technical writing to go from 2010 to 2020; the prediction of the pace of growth is higher than the average for all occupations especially in technology sectors.
Most in the field have a college degree or a certification in technical writing, while some have experience in engineering, computer science, advertising, marketing, or web designs. There is a recorded 3% increase in demand and a subsequent increase in the salary of content.
Recently API writers have become a particular specialty; these writers are described as API (application programming interface) for an audience as following
- System architects
The API consists of elements for building software applications. These elements can include interfaces, structure, and functions. The development team uses the API to work with software.
The API for a programming language can consist of constructs. Writers can help programmers to deal with all of the constructs and remember their functions and fine parameters. In this case, the writer must understand the source code enough to write the supporting documentation.
A technical writer can extract the documentation by looking at the programmer’s comments that are in the source code. When working on API documentation writers must work with programmers as product and software chance through innovation and releases. These writers can have a background (knowledge) in computer science and programming and technical writing. Languages can include assembling c, c++, java, and PHP.
Technical writing for different industries
It covers so many industries and groups, plus varies from function to function and industry to industry. Look at some of the industries where technical writing jobs are available.
In general, that many industries are included, in the group of industries academic, information technology, manufacturing, medical and more. Here are some of the areas where a technical writer can work.
1.Computer-related industries: Whether its software or hardware technical writing is involved; this can also include work related to the web application or social media. It is another field that needs supports. Let’s remember the defense contractors can be part of the employment picture and a software development company. IBM and Microsoft are companies that come to mind as to adobe and apple.
2. Science and engineering:
These firms encompass a wide variety of industries. They can include companies such as Boeing, Ford, and GE, etc.
3. Health care:
This can include hospitals and hardware, and software developers. GE and Philips are 2 examples of medical equipment suppliers that employ a technical writer.
4. Education and instructional design:
A technical writer can support learning endeavors in many ways they can create course materials for trainers as one example. With the instructional design, you break down a procedure in two steps, a basic skill a technical writer has.
5. Business, finance, and project management:
The communication skills of a technical writer apply to business and finance-related companies as well as those companies involved in project management. Companies such as Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and young, BDO International come to mind as those who could use a technical writer.
Many of the government sectors hire many technical writers; writers can go on a job in media relations, and policy analysts or some of the defense sector are included.
Industries statistics for technical writing scopes
The bureau of labor statistics notes the industries with the highest employment for technical writing include the following. Starting with the largest, which includes:
- Software and IT industries
- Computer system design and related
- Management, science, and technical consulting
- Architecture, engineering, and related
- Employment services
- Scientific research and development
- Aerospace and parts manufacturing
- Instruments manufacturing
- Media (newspapers, periodicals, books)
Types of Technical Writing
- Abstracts: it includes statements of what a written work contains. The work can be complex or scholarly. The abstract can present a summary and normally has an author different from the author of the work. The aim of an abstract is to present the essence of the subject. It is normally brief.
- Blogs: are short for weblogs. Most blogs are informal, but some are more formal and represent the voice of a group or company. Some blogs deal with writing and represent the voice of the person who writes it; some blogs present thought leadership on topics related to business. Technical writers can make a great contribution to this writing niche.
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- Letters: can represent important statements related to projects or the dissemination of information; technical writers can make a great contribution here. For example, letters from a medical institution can alert audiences to important information such as what groups must comply with what regulations.
- Memos:can be informally written notes, records, beef, reminders, or summaries. They have used a means of communication and can be an outline of the terms of an agreement. It can also represent a draft stage of a more formal document to come.
- Manuals: represent a major part of the work of a technical writer in many organizations. Manuals can include a quick start guide, troubleshooting guides, programming manual, comprehensive user manual for hardware or software, training manual, an application manual with examples, or reference manual. Whatever kind of document can help a user complete a task or understand a product or service can be included.
- Scientific and Medical technical writing:can cover a wide range of materials. This can include user documentation for medical equipment. It can also include documentation for electronic medical records software and Training guides as well. While scientific writing involves the discloser of important information in scientific journals; this can cover the results of research in the field such as science and technology, engineering, medicine, etc.
- Online help can be written by a technical writer: If it is part of the software it should be easy to find information and easy to understand the information after a user finds it. Troubleshooting and application can go into online help. Help can be an important selling point for a product as can all good documentation that helps users.
- Proposals: they can come in response to a request for proposal or a request for bid. Proposals can also represent a bid for a grant from an organization.
- Report: covers a wide range of formats and content. Technical reports can cover important topics such as why a piece of equipment failed. Technical reports can also cover the design of a piece of equipment or be the application.
- Specifications:are documents that define a set of requirements. This can relate to a product or service. If a product does not meet the requirements in the document it does not meet the specification or is out of spec and can be unsuitable or rejected. A technical specification can define the requirements needed to fill a contract.
- Technical articles and papers:can include a variety of documents. Technical articles can appear in trade journals or scholarly publications, as two examples. Papers can include white papers that an author writes to make a public statement about a technical topic. White papers can also be marketing documents aimed at a potential customer.
- Web pages: can be written by a technical writer who carefully assesses the salience, content, and delivery method.
2020 Technical writer’s job and salary survey
Let’s consider the multiple factors which might have an impact on the technical writer in term of salary and career growth which are considered during the survey in 2020 by society for technical communication (STC) India, some of the criteria which are considered to obtain the data are as follows
- Impact of COVID-19
- Service vs. product company
- Job role
- AIP documentation
- Industry segment
- Team structure
- Company size
Impact of COVID-19:
There is no secret that COVID-19 has impacted the world and jobs all over the world in the worst possible way. So the biggest question on top of everybody’s head is to know- what is going around the different job sectors due to pandemics.
As considering technical writing jobs, in 2020 around 55% haven’t seen any impact on the jobs or salary, at the worst end of it actually 4% people have seen a job loss, which in compression to other sectors considerably less.
- About 6% of people had a salary cut that had to work for lower pay.
- About 10% of people did not get any increment last year but had a fixed pay with no variable.
- About 25% of people had an impact on their bonuses, which either the bonus was delayed, reduced or it was completely canceled- had a fixed pay with no variable.
All in all, as compared to other professions it had less impact because of the pandemic situation going around the world.
The next factor considered is experience in a career in terms of salary. As shown below, the graph represents the annual salary vs. experience in years. As expectedly there is seen the growth in salary with the experience in years, entering around 5 lakhs and growing up to 30 lakhs in 0-19 years of range in median salary.
If you compare the salaries based on the per year of experience, on average if you have 10years of experience, the typical average salary is 15lakhs annually. So 1.5 lakhs per year of experience, which varies based on the factors.
The graph shows the actual data where the annual salary per year of experience is given, in the initial period you can see the high number, but the growth doesn’t continue similarly, but the curve is stabilizing at 1.5 later in career.
Location plays an important role in career growth based on location the job opportunities and salary keep varying. The top cities in India which offer the higher opportunities as follows
In 2020, the highest response was from Bangalore which is the top location for the technical writes with 38%, followed by Pune with 25% highest paying cities in India. Some other cities consist of Chennai 13%, Hyderabad 9%, Mumbai 5%, NCR 4%, and other 6%.
Service vs. Product Company:
Nature of business is another acceptance, which defines either the company is a service-based or a product-based company. Service Companies are companies like Infosys, Wipro, savage who work for other customers and carry out their projects. Product companies are companies who have their product and sell to the end-users.
In the 2020 survey, about 79% were from product-based companies and 21% from service-based companies. In terms of salary, there is a drastic difference. The product companies are moving almost 40% higher than the service companies for the same level of experience.
The other factor for determining is the kind of work you do. About 55% were individuals writers or full-time writers, 38% were writing and supervising other writers alone side and 7% were full-time supervision and based on the type of role and experience. There was a varying of the salary seen in the survey.
API documentation, SDKs or developer portal, etc, come under the small percentage in India who gets to do that as their full-time job and the reward is proportionately higher. There is a ratio of 1.6 in 2.1 ratios of people working as developer documentation, and a large population does the API documentation as a small part of their job.
Another important aspect is the industry segmentation, lot of people are curious about is which domain one have to work in, where do most writers comes from, where they get paid well and most of the opportunities lie in. The survey shows the domain and the industries offering the jobs and the salary.
About 67% as expected were from the software domain; software consists of all types of software domains like software BFSI, IT, manufacturing, pharmacy, banking, etc. About 6% were from computer hardware and electronics, 5% from manufacturing, 3% consist of aeronautics and aviation industry and about 20% were from other domain, which includes energy, banking, procurement, etc.
Looking into the different team structure gives an idea about how well one can earn being a part of a different team or individual can earn. Loan writers get paid a lot more as compared to others in the team, but of course, the overall actual salary doesn’t remain the same after certain years of experience. So, that means as a junior writer you get a lot more if you’re working individually, but as you grow the teams where there is a central team of writers in a company pays you higher compared to loan writer.
People working with a central team of writers in any organization have a lot more advantage over companies where writers are not a part of the central pool. So only about 12% of people are part of loan writers and the rest 88% of people work for different kinds of teams in the company.
Size of the employing organization or the company size a person is working with shows that smaller companies might pay more like that of loan writers compared to bigger companies but once you grow in your career you might not get well paid based on your years of experience as compared to bigger companies.
Another important acceptance is freelancing. You might think about how many people do freelancing in your concern industry because at some point or other everyone wants to go ahead with freelancing. But according to the survey only a small population are working as a freelancer, about only 1% or below 5% are working as freelancers.
Where to find the jobs?
There are plenty of online job sites are available such as Naukri.com, Monster India, LinkedIn, Indeed, IIM jobs, etc. This site keeps updating jobs on a day-to-day basis. Apart from online sites, one can directly visit the official site to look for vacancies.
Locations to know:
Some of the cities that employ technical writers jobs in India are Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, NCR, and Chennai, which provide you excellent opportunities in a technical writing career.
Hopefully, this article provides you with greater insight into technical writing and the career opportunities as a technical writer.