Last week U.S News listed technical writing as one of the 50 best careers of 2011.
Some interesting highlights (at least for me):
- “Future employment for technical writers looks bright, especially for those with strong Web and multimedia skills, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technical writing positions are expected to grow by more than 18 percent, or 8,900 jobs, by 2018.”
- “It helps if you’re comfortable working as a contractor, since companies increasingly prefer to hire that way.”
- “The lowest-paid technical writers earn less than $37,000, and the highest-paid positions earn more than $100,000. In some industries, offshoring may put downward pressure on pay.”
In Vancouver, I know of two companies who have experimented with offshoring their technical communications departments to countries like India. Although I’m not a fan of losing work to other locales, I believe that offshoring may make sense in certain situations: for example, when an established product has gone into “maintenance mode” and the edits to the documentation are minor.
Another web site that puts “downward pressure on pay” is Elance, which enables outsourcing to workers around the world.
As anyone on the globe can bid on a job, I’ve seen technical writing assignments in which writers are willing to work for peanuts (for instance, one writer completed 17 jobs and had earned only $475). Hopefully, sites like Elance will always remain on the periphery for the sake of workers who are hoping to make a competitive, industry-standard wage.
Check out the report (link to external web site).