Is technical writing a growing or dying industry?

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Comments (2)

Matt D in Redmond, Washington

46 months ago

Hi all,

I'm a newspaper copy editor who has been looking at technical writing as a possible new career. According to various career websites and the Department of Labor, technical writing is supposedly a growth industry. However, I've also heard mixed reports from friends who work as tech writers for big Seattle tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon. One even told me he's getting out of the business because there are so few opportunities right now.

I really would like to know if the career outlook for tech writers is improving with the economy, or whether tech writing is just another "dying" field like the newspaper industry. I think I have some transferable skills, including strong communication skills and experience using publishing programs like Frame Maker. Any help would be appreciated.

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dacoh in Garden Grove, California

46 months ago

I don't think it's growing or dying in this economy. In normal economic times, it's likely a growth industry. If you can combine writing technical documentation and developing training materials, you have a good shot.

Technical writing is hard to outsource to the BRIC because you have to write very clear English. Most of the stuff we get back from India is very difficult to decipher. That puts load on support engineers, which is not cost-effective.

I would recommend starting a portfolio with technical writing samples. You can write documentation for existing software applications your own way. We are always asked for samples when we interview, so you should invest some time in writing some. It doesn't matter that they're not on the job documents.

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