In this series of posts, I’m exploring technical jobs I’d never heard of before I made my career switch into tech. Obligatory caveat: If you already have experience in the tech industry, then you’ve probably heard of these jobs; but, if you’re in college or grad school or curious about switching into a higher-paid, technical career, read on! I’ve been in your shoes, and I wish I’d learned sooner about the many technical roles out there that value writing or teaching skills as much as (or more than!) technical experience. So without further ado, here’s the lowdown on a technical job I’d never heard of before I started working in tech:
Do you spend your days mentally correcting everyone’s grammar? Did you major in English, Journalism, or another writing-heavy Humanities field? Does your idea of the perfect workday involve a quiet workspace and a steaming mug of tea as you type toward a deadline? Check out technical writing.
Associate Technical Writer was my first technical job after I made my career switch, so this field is near and dear to me. Technical Writers are the minds behind online help. If you’ve ever gotten stuck in Excel (who hasn’t?) and perused an online Microsoft article for tips, you’ve benefited from technical writing.
As software companies hurtle from one release to the next, cramming in as many features and product enhancements as possible along the way, someone needs to explain just what the heck all those shiny new buttons do. Technical Writers work closely with engineering teams to develop deep product knowledge and succinctly communicate critical information about how to configure and use the software. Often, the content produced by technical writing teams is published online where users can easily access it.
Look at a few job reqs for entry-level technical writers, and notice how few of them require technical degrees. Instead, recruiters are looking for great writers, and a degree in English or Journalism is as likely to land you the job as a degree in Computer Science. It’s much easier for companies to teach you product knowledge than effective writing skills; and, if you’re a person who prefers or needs to work from home most of the time? Remote opportunities abound in technical writing. Entry-level gigs commonly pay upwards of $50k, while senior-level technical writers can easily command six figures. Who’s judging you for that English degree now, eh?
Are you a technical writer or looking to break into the field? Let us know your questions and experiences in the comments below!