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Regarding Content/technical Writing As A Career..pls Advice

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by Needtobestrong, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Needtobestrong

    Needtobestrong Platinum IL'ite

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    I'm on a career break, and looking for options to resume career after a while..I was suggested by few people to go for a career in technical or content writing as it offers decent salary with work life balance..
    I do not have prior experience in this..
    My previous job profile was totally different in MNC, and too stressful so I don't want to pursue any job in my previous profile and role ..my experience in content writing is limited to editing few knowledge transfer documents for internal and external clients, I think I did a pretty decent job in it...
    My queries are as follows:
    1. What skills and qualifications are needed for getting into technical writing job?
    2. How is salary and overall career growth in this field?salary is not main criteria for me but just want to know
    3. How is work life balance in this field..will I have to work long hours, will I be able to work from home occasionally in this role..
    Is it suitable for ladies who have to manage family, household and office with limited support..
    4. How is work related stress
    5. What courses will I have to do and what skills should I acquire to get into technical writing job?
    Pls mention the names of tools that are in demand..
    Anyone with experience in this field kindly share your experience pls.
     
    aspha likes this.
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  2. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    You will get better responses if you specify whether you live in India or elsewhere.

    Most important: You will need a portfolio displaying your writing skills. Start a blog asap!!:wink1:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    Needtobestrong likes this.
  3. aspha

    aspha Gold IL'ite

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  4. aspha

    aspha Gold IL'ite

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    1. What skills and qualifications are needed for getting into technical writing job?
    You should have a good oral and written skills. Can analyse client needs and pen it down in layman English.

    2. How is salary and overall career growth in this field?salary is not main criteria for me but just want to know
    At entry level in USA you get around 65-70k USD annually. Also some companies prefer paying by hour. The rate varies on ecperience and can get paid upto 70 USD per hour. Pay is also decided on industry you are working in like software, bio-medical, renewable energy, etc.

    3. How is work life balance in this field..will I have to work long hours, will I be able to work from home occasionally in this role..
    Fortunately, technical writers enjoy work-life balance. I have never worked long hours in my 7 year career back home in India and neither here in US have I seen any writer slogging after work hours.


    Is it suitable for ladies who have to manage family, household and office with limited support..
    Yes, it is very much suitable for us ladies. Beauty of the profession is, we can work from home if company has that policy. If you are lucky enough you might end up getting remote opportunity.

    4. How is work related stress
    I will not say its stress free, but not as stressful as a developer, tester would define. Its one of the most stress free job

    5. What courses will I have to do and what skills should I acquire to get into technical writing job?
    I did my MS in technical communications. You can opt for a certificate course or whatever is available in your state and university.


    Pls mention the names of tools that are in demand..
    Tool knowledge like FrameMaker, Robohelp, Dreamweaver, Visio, SnagIt are essential. Start reading on forms dedicated to technical writing on Linkedin, they can be a good starting point for you to decide.
    Also knowledge of HTML/CSS, DITA, Structured documentation is a must.

    You also need to study various style guides:

    1. Microsoft manual of style,
    2. The Associated Press Stylebook, by The Associated Press.
    3. The Careful Writer, by Theodore Bernstein.
    4. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. (Commonly called "Strunk and White")
    5. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams
    6. The Well-Spoken Thesaurus, by Tom Heehler
    7. The Chicago Manual of Style, by University of Chicago Press staff.
     
  5. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    aspha, your post is a very comprehensive input! Nice and informative to read.

    A related question: if a person is looking to move into technical writing after having worked for years in one area like say medical care or education related software/service industry, should he/she ideally try to move to technical writing in that area? Is there a significant advantage in having the background knowledge? Does the advantage help when looking for a job, when working, or both? Or, is background knowledge not so important, and a competent technical writer will be able to understand any topic sufficiently to be able to write well about it?

    Also: what is the predicted trend for technical writers? Is there likely to be sufficient demand over the next 4-6 years?

    So nice just to read this list. I am going to dust out my copy of Strunk and White and skim through it again.

    Unrelated: I went and did a little googling on 'Strunk & White versus Wren & Martin' just for the nostalgia. Looks like W&M was written mainly for the children of British officers residing in colonial India, and later adopted by Indian and Pakistani schools in the post-colonial era. Which might be why some of us received copies of that as first/second/consolation prize for essay/elocution/debate in school. : )
     
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  6. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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    Technical writing in the software industry (one of the biggest employers about a decade ago )is slowly dying . The idea is that UX has to so good that its intuitive to the user and no further documentation is needed. (That most apple products dont come with a manual is not by omission) . There are a few fields where its still alive and evolving(enterprise software/auto/hardware) ...but even there the move now is towards video/audio training . @aspha has covered most of ur questions I would recommend cross -training just to be more attractive to ur employers.
     
    Needtobestrong and Rihana like this.
  7. Needtobestrong

    Needtobestrong Platinum IL'ite

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    I am living in India.
     
  8. Needtobestrong

    Needtobestrong Platinum IL'ite

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    Thanks ladies..got some good info here.
    I'm settled in India...if there are any more people who have worked in this field in India kindly share your experiences, and approximate salary packages in India.
     

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