Career Growth Opportunities for Technical Writers
Technical writers play an important role in companies across many different industries, including health care, computer technology, and education. They create materials that help customers to use and understand the product that is offered. Technical writers typically produce work in varied forms, such as writing, charts, and infographics. After working as a technical writer, some individuals may wish to consider other jobs utilizing the skills they developed. Some opportunities are presented below.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2018)**||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Education or Experience|
|Senior Technical Writer||$81,218||11% (technical writers)||Bachelor's degree and experience writing in a specific industry|
|Instructional Designer||$61,097||11% (training and development specialists)||Bachelor's degree and related work experience|
|Communications Director||$66,849||9% (public relations specialists)||Bachelor's degree and portfolio|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
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Senior Technical Writer
Those technical writers who enjoy the work they do may wish to move up the career ladder to a position as a senior technical writer. These professionals do similar work as technical writers at a more complex level. They work to create FAQ pages, how-to guides, and other materials to support an end user's experience of a product. They may also write articles for journals which explain complex questions. Senior technical writers may also undertake roles editing the work of more junior writers or delegating assignments. They may also take on more complex projects such as writing certification test questions. Senior technical writers typically have developed a robust knowledge of the terminology of the industry for which they are writing and have publications to back up their experience.
Technical writers are skilled at translating technical concepts so that a wide audience can understand these ideas. Moving into a role as an instructional designer would enable technical writers to utilize this skill. Instructional designers work in a wide range of industries. Instructional designers develop online training programs and instructional management systems that help users to understand and best utilize a company's product. They must understand the information the user needs, and they utilize multimedia approaches that will be interesting and informative to the users. They may revise programs based on feedback from users. Instructional designers typically possess a bachelor's degree or a master's degree. They must have knowledge of adult learning principles and basic design strategies. In addition, they should have developed good technical competencies in the industry for which they are designing instruction.
Technical writers have extensive experience in ensuring that the general public can understand technical user documents. Those who wish utilize their skill in portraying a specific message while expanding the scope of their work may wish to consider positions as a communications director. Communications directors develop a strategic plan for their company, to ensure that a company's message and goals are communicated consistently and in a positive fashion to the public. Communications directors must have an excellent relationship with the media. They may write speeches or draft responses to other media requests. When crises occur, or if the company receives negative press, communications directors may be responsible for the outreach needed to protect the company. They may be responsible for other public relations professionals. Communications directors typically have a bachelor's degree and extensive experience in the industry. A portfolio of work may be helpful in securing this type of position.