RE: Opportunities in Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Opportunities in Technical Writing
From: "Dori Green" <dgreen -at- associatedbrands -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 10:54:16 -0500

John wrote:

> Is the field of Technical writing growing?

Yes, as long as people continue to be born not already knowing how to use
new things.

...i would like a rough idea of if there will be jobs when i
> finish.
Sorry, no crystal balls or guarantees for anybody in any profession.
You will need to have a marketing strategy for yourself and develop a

Side note: most technical writers capitalize the personal pronoun "I",
unless they are channeling e.e. cummings.

> ...what affect will outsourcing have on Technical writing?

It's likely to lessen the popularity of Globalization among
Western technical writers, who aren't used to competition.
There will always be a place for good tech writers. And for
bad ones who write in English "kinda sorta", which creates
an entirely new market niche for the good ones who can translate
_that_ into English. It's known as a win-win situation.
> What sort of hours can i expect to work?

As many or as few as you choose. Beware of offers to convert
from hourly contractor to salaried permanent employee with a
teenie tiny wage increase and immediate expectation that you
will happily put in another 10-20 hours per week.

Note: Smaller companies are sometimes more likely to offer
flexibility in hours. They are usually more likely to pull
the bait-and-switch noted above.

If flexibility is important to you, be
sure to negotiate for it at the beginning and get the agreement
in writing -- once you're hired,
their standard old-fashioned rules apply and they'll probably
be disinclined to change them for you. If they do, they know
darned well that some jealous SOB who wasn't clever enough to
work it into their own hiring contract will make you, them, and
everybody else sorry that they made an exception for you.
> Can you work part time?

If you want to work part time, present the idea as an advantage
of selecting you over your competitor who is seeking a strictly-
traditional 9-5 job. Let 'em think that Flextime or Telecommuting
is their idea. You are the Technical Writer, Master of Rhetoric
(the art of using language to persuade or influence). Don't be
afraid, make use of The Force.
> What is the salary range from min to max you can theoritically earn?

Some crazy woman on the web is advertizing freelance tech writing
from her home for $10 per hour. Some crazy guy on one of the
lists claims $100,000-plus per year. Go figure, the average is
somewhere between those two. The Society for Technical Communication
(, very affordable for students, offers an annual
salary survey.

Side note: when you are tested for writing ability at the interview,
take care to spell "theoretically" correctly.

Dori Green
Technical Writer, QMS Project
Associated Brands, Inc.
Medina, NY Facility


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