ClickHelp recently published an interesting read on career opportunities for technical writers in the upcoming years.
It is a more than 100 pages overview of existing and new markets where technical writers could be hired. The usual suspects here are IT, engineering, gas and oil, spacecraft and some others.They see Insurance, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Green industry and Sports as new fields where technical writers might be needed.
The tone is positive: Want to get into medicine as a writer without a proper background, should be possible. What I see in adds is different. Haven’t come across one add where you could respond having a, e.g. journalist or communication background. It was all proper knowledge of medicine that was asked for in the first place.
The same goes for engineering. I did the odd freelance job in this field without a proper technical background. Still, i managed draining the engineers minds for any knowledge they had. The documents I produced were service manuals, operator manuals and overview manuals of the whole machine. What dearly missed in the ClickHelp paper was that here in Europe, as in the USA and e.g. India I suspect, there are strict rules on the content of these manuals. All the other technical machine related fields are highly regulated as well when it comes to documentation. Knowing these rules could be as big an asset as having a technical background.
That the gaming industry might be needing technical writers is interesting. Playing the odd game myself I find that micro content with a conversational tone is what is presented in games. This calls for a different way of writing. A technical writer could do the job, but so could a journalist or a novel writer. MadCapFlare offers micro content functionality.
Interesting is that the paper also digs into UX writing. Is it here to stay? What are the differences with tech writing and could you switch from tech to UX or the other way around?
Problems and challenges
What stole my heart though was the difficulties and challenges chapter. It was true thirty years ago, it will be thirty years from now.
- Dealing with subject matter experts
- Hello boredom, my old friend (working on one product year after year)
- Working with what you’ve got (the tools problem)
- Meeting instead of writing (but tech writers maybe write 30% of their time)
- The more projects the merrier (project time management)
- Undervaluation (Make your mark or live with it)
All in all an interesting read.