Technical Writing Jobs: What is Technical Writing

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Technical writing involves any kind of complex information, procedures, or processes where there is a need to communicate them in a concise and simple way. One key component of technical writing is that it enables readers to accomplish a specific task, set of tasks, or goal. Technical writing jobs are available on many freelancing platforms, but there are other areas in which you can find technical writing jobs.

But before I show you how to find technical writing jobs, let’s take a closer look at this subject in general.

Technical writing is used for:

  • User manuals, especially for software or technology related products or systems
  • Written operating instructions for industrial equipment
  • Assessment or treatment of any type of medical condition
  • Safety manuals for handling hazardous waste or hazardous materials, operating maintenance equipment or heavy machinery, electrical equipment or power tools.
  • Instructions for safe storage, preparation, or consumption of foods
  • Compliance with any type of laws, regulations, or other government mandates
  • Specific standards or expectations for coaching a team
  • Accident prevention in areas of driving, water safety, airline safety, etc.
  • Written instructions, demonstration videos, training materials, reference guides
  • Grant proposals
  • Contracts
  • Warning Labels, product packaging, or product catalogs

Common Tools for Technical Writing:

Document Software:

  • Microsoft Word or Google Docs for internal documents and proposals
  • Excel or another spreadsheet software for numerical data
  • Visio or equivalent software for flowcharts, to diagram processes, or organizational charts

Desktop Publishing (DTP) Software:

  • Adobe InDesign-used for marketing documents such as white papers, brochures, and data sheets but can be used for technical writing as well.
  • FrameMaker is great for creating technical manuals that are longer in length. Commonly used for documentation that is printed or viewed in PDF.

Help-Authoring Tools (HATs) Software:

  • Madcap Flare
  • Author-it
  • Doc-To-Help
  • Robo-Help

Topic-based Systems:

  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)
  • DocBook XML
  • ArborText
  • oXygen

Customer Service Platforms:

  • Zendesk
  • MindTouch

Essential Skills for Technical Writing:

  • Writing skills—all technical writers need to write in a clear, concise way.
  • Design skills-graphics, illustrations, and document formatting
  • Usability and Testing-technical writers are sometimes involved in usability and testing but should have a solid understanding of this process in order to write about it.
  • Industry or Topic Specific Knowledge (i.e. engineering, pharmaceuticals, programming languages, hardware or software, medical, etc.)
  • Interview Skills-technical writers may be asked to gather data by interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) or end-users.

Find Technical Writing Jobs:

Jobs.Problogger. This is a reputable website associated with Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. It’s a great place to find technical writing jobs and freelance jobs in general. Performing a search using the term “technical” produces an entire page of jobs including those for “Technical Bloggers”, “Technical SEO Writer”, “Technical Write/Editor” and many other technical writing jobs. This is definitely worth adding to your bookmarks.

Indeed.com. Although not designed just for technical writing jobs or just for freelance jobs, a search for “remote technical writer” or “freelance technical writer” brings up a fair number of options.

Upwork. This is a general job board created when Elance and Odesk merged, Upwork boasts a specific category for technical writing jobs. This is a good place to get started if you need to build your technical writing reputation with some positive feedback. A search of job postings under technical writing returned over 300 results and 20 of those technical writing jobs were posted just in the previous 3 days. Keep in mind Upwork charges a 20% commission on any money you earn and they have a buy-out policy if you decide to work directly for any client.

Guru. General job board which doesn’t have a technical writing category but a search of the “Web, Software & IT” category using the term “writing” turned up a couple of job postings for small technical writing projects.

Sologig. This might be a good place to look for more solid, full-time technical writing gigs. You can also use it to simply identify companies that are hiring technical writers and then approach them. A search using the terms “remote technical writer” and “freelance technical writer” returned no results.

Coroflot. This job board is full of job postings for technical positions, including web development, design, engineering, and even environmental graphics. A search for “technical writing jobs” turned up several postings for “technical proofreaders” all from the same company. Check this site if you have time. You might get lucky now and then.

Working Nomads. This is a job board dedicated to remote jobs and many of them in areas such as Design, Development, System Administration, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success. A search for “technical writer” simply listed IT-related jobs. You would have to spend the time to find the jobs with a more technical writing component to them.

Toptal. Founded by engineers, this highly rated job board matches designers and engineers with well-known client companies such as Zendesk, Airbnb, and J.P. Morgan. There is a rigorous screening of applicants and you cannot even search jobs without going through their registration process. If you’re among the top 3% of technical talent, this might be a great lead for you.

Constant-Content. This is a website that markets pre-written content to over 50,000 businesses all over the world. They do market technical writing services, such as product and training manuals, help files and documentation, policy manuals and compliance instructions. But with over 100,000 writers you may have some stiff competition. Be sure you understand how everything works before getting started.

TEKsystems. This job website focuses in on jobs in the communications, energy, IT, government, healthcare, and financial services fields. Although a search for the term “technical writing jobs” turned up multiple listings, there was no way to filter those for remote or freelance jobs. Most of the listings I read were for 9 to 5 brick and mortar technical writing jobs. You might get lucky, though, it’s worth adding to your list because their focus is on technical jobs.

Your best bet to find technical writing jobs is to first focus in on learning the skills and gaining the tools you need to be successful in the field. Once you are ready to try your hand at technical writing, start out slow.

Focus on finding a technical writing job that centers around a topic that you are already familiar with and have experience in such as water safety, food safety, or even a specific brand/model of cell phone or a video game. If you enjoy technical writing, you will want to take some courses and training in the field so that you can be more well-rounded and earn top dollar.

Did we miss your favorite go-to site for finding technical writing jobs? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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