In December, I looked at the daily rates for technical writers and others in the tech comms industry. At the time daily rates for technical writers are down to $30 per hour in some places in the Bay Area. However, maybe things are starting to turn around. In Ireland (Euro HQ for most US IT companies) Google has announced 150 new jobs, many in technical roles. So, is the tide starting to turn?
Do you feel loved? Many technical writers feel unloved. They feel they don’t get the respect they deserve. I hear this on LinkedIn and Facebook: “people don’t respect the work I do.” Well, if that’s the case, here are a few ways to get more respect and move into a more rewarding career.
Which of these would you hire to join your Technical Writing Dept? Someone with great writing skills but little technical knowledge or, for example, a Computer Science graduate with deep technical knowledge but average writing skills? We’ve been talking about this on LinkedIn and here are some thoughts.
From Shakespeare, Graham Greene, JK Rowling to Colum McAndrew, Ellis Pratt, David Farbey. All have all one thing in common – great writing! As my career started in the Baker Street, London in the 90s, I’ve always carried fond memories of my time in England. Here are some UK based technical writers you might want to add to your Twitter list. By the way, do you notice any difference between UK and US tech writer blogs?
How much time do you spend writing every week? Remember, you have 37.5 hours (I know!) for technical writing every week, but how much is actually spent writing? When I say writing I actually mean developing content, so this includes illustrations, diagrams, publishing etc – whatever goes into the final deliverable.
Putting advertising in user guides may seem rather flaky at first, but it could work. Here’s why. Life is full of taboos. Things you should and shouldn’t do. One of my ‘pet projects’ is to connect the lines between Sales and Technical Documentation. To me, they both serve the same purpose. Serve the customer. While they both start at different points, the end goal is the same. Unfortunately, these two departments rarely work together. Let’s take a look at how we can fix this.
You’ve just being fired. The Technical Writing dept is closed. What do you do? This is a fact of life for many people today. Indeed, there is now a real fear that US technical writers will continue to lose their jobs to offshore companies, e.g. India & Poland. And it’s true; it’s the shape of things to come, I’m afraid. But rather than moan about it, let’s look at what you can do to re-invent yourself and find new, lucrative opportunities.
Yes, I’m that terrible person who interviews technical writers and asks those awkward questions. Here are some of the things I’m looking for when I interview people. First, companies expect that graduates will have the same (more or less) writing skills – that’s a given. So, what they’re looking for are other qualities.
Why did you become a technical writer? Some move into technical writing by accident (me!) while for others it was part of their career path. I spoke to some technical writers about this recently. Here’s what I learned.
Let’s say you’re setting up a new Tech Docs Dept. You need to create new guidelines, style guides and naming conventions. Should you call the user ‘documents’ User Guides or User Manuals? Which one is right? I was asked this question by a colleague in India who is setting up a Technical Publishing Dept in […]