Technical Writing Career Outlook & Guidelines
Technical writing ranks among the most lucrative freelance writing genres, and boasts a considerable growth potential. As such, it attracts many prospects looking to make it big in freelancing.
Unfortunately, many novice writers find it hard to establish themselves as freelance technical writers. Read on to discover the tips for getting technical writing jobs online. This guide will also cover information and tips to help you secure technical writing gigs.
Who is a technical writer?
A freelance technical writer is an individual hired on a contractual basis to convert complex information into easy-to-follow guidelines. The tasks for technical writers include preparing instructional manuals, how-to guides, journals, and documentation for complex technical processes.
Some tasks of a technical writer include:
- Determining the need for program documentation
- Studying a program and consulting the designers and developers
- Preparing the supporting information for products
- Creating drawings to show the use and troubleshooting process for various products
- Choosing relevant marketing mediums and strategies
How to become a technical writer
Like any other freelance niche, there are many paths to becoming a technical freelancer.
- You may start as a general freelance writer and acquire the essential skills for technical writing.
- Or you could also start as a specialist within a specialized field and develop writing skills.
If you are a specialist in a field, you should familiarize yourself with technical writing guidelines and master writing and marketing skills. Next, search for remote technical writing jobs within your niche, and build a portfolio to pitch your services to prospects.
Some writers acquire certifications as technical writers, spicing up their profiles to appeal better to prospects. Although not a necessity, a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communication and a degree in a specialized niche also rank among the requirements for some employees.
If you are not a specialist in a specific field, you could start by providing writing services and training yourself on the relevant skills required for technical writing.
Types of technical writing
Although technical writing is considered a narrow niche, it blankets multiple types of content. The major types of technical writing include:
- Traditional technical writing – Content is mainly geared for professionals within a field. Types of content include repair manuals, programmer manuals, research papers, and white papers.
- End-user documentation – Typical of electronic gadgets and consumer appliances. End-user documentation aims to help a non-skilled audience navigate the use and troubleshoot various devices. For this, you must first learn how to use a product and describe multiple processes to the audience.
- Technical marketing – This category involves the production of marketing materials for various markets. These items include brochures, press releases, and catalogs.
Salary for a technical writer
Although the amounts may fluctuate depending on the writer’s skill level, the annual pay for a technical writer is approximated at an average of $69850. The income may be lower when looking for technical writer jobs online due to the stiff competition for gigs on content mills.
Technical writing career outlook
The technical writing niche is projected to grow by over 10% by 2029. This is due to the paradigm shift in consumer behavior and the increased popularity of online platforms.
As such, it holds promise for those making an entry and looking to bag some cash from their technical writing skills.
Technical writing tips
- Develop a portfolio – as you start, collect samples you’ve done for previous clients and the reviews and show them on your portfolio. This helps build your credibility, making it easier to market your services.
- Engage in networking – build relationships with experts in related departments and fellow technical writers. This assists in securing gigs and earning you recommendations in case your contacts require technical writing services.
- Specialize in one niche – Find a specific on-demand niche and earn the skills to analyze various products and reach out to their target audiences.