Want to hire the best technical writer? Here’s a list of the top 50 technical writers, the skills you must look for, and how to hire them!
What is a technical writer? The job technical writer has is to break down complex information into simpler form and communicate it to others. A technical writer is needed by companies who need technical documentation such as journals, white papers, user manuals, instruction manuals, etc.
If you are looking to hire a technical writer, this article will help you understand the basic qualities to look for, technical writer interview questions, and places to find technical writers best suited for you and your company. Technical writer services should be compensated based on experience and location. Technical writer starting salary is $20 per hour.
Recruitment market for technical writers
Technical writing is a growing profession. The job market for technical writers is projected to grow by 7 percent from 2009 to 2029, faster than other occupations. An increase in web-based product support and a rise in scientific and technical products has led to a rise in the demand of skilled technical writers in the job industry.
The United States has an estimated number of 52,000 technical writers according to CareerExplorer. Over the next ten years, the United States will need 11,700 technical writers to fill open positions. Employers will prefer content writers with technical knowledge and skills. Technical writer entry level salary is significantly low.
Technical writing consultants who can write developer documentation are highly in demand. It is not easy to find an API technical writer. A company needs API technical writers to provide highly technical documentation to developers who are working on code.
The median technical writer salary is 67,655 USD and writers with significant experience in the industry can earn as much as 100,000 USD. Technical writer salary range in the U.S falls between $50,176 to $65,774.
A detail-oriented technical writer with high professionalism will always be in demand in the upcoming years as the company requires professionals to prepare documentation like white papers, product manuals, website FAQs, etc.
Things to Note While Hiring Technical Writer
There are several factors to consider while hiring a technical writer. We are sharing the top ten things to note while hiring a technical writer to help you find someone easy to work with,
- Look for a technical content writer who presents themselves with professionalism and integrity. Check their references to see if they can work for long hours and are self-driven.
- Technical writers should have great writing skills with a good grasp of grammar. They should be awesome at putting words together to tell a story that is engaging and easy to grasp.
- Make sure the tech writer demonstrates the ability to listen and comprehend the instructions given for writing a piece. They should be able to draft an article understood by the masses.
- Tech writers should showcase a willingness and capability to adapt to new ideas according to client’s requirements. Their writing style should complement your company vision.
- A good technical writer should be aware of the latest tools in the market. Technical writing tools are designed especially for writers to offer task-specific functionality along with a user-friendly text editor.
- A technical writer is required to write highly researched articles that require great exploration skills. Hours of research is needed to gather the desired information before writing an article.
- Technical writer requirements include good communication skills. They need to talk to editors, other writers, designers, developers hence great interpersonal skills are expected.
- A good technical writer must have critical thinking skills. They should demonstrate the ability to make reasoned and clear judgments.
- A skilled technical writer has an organized and systematic approach to work. They should be able to organize information logically and precisely to make it easily understandable.
- The technical writer you are thinking of hiring should have the desired technical knowledge. This approach could be advantageous to you and your company.
Qualities of Best Technical Writer
We have listed down the qualities of the best technical writer,
- Technical writing/editing – Technical writers should demonstrate excellent skills in writing and editing a document along with technical knowledge. They should be able to communicate complex ideas in simpler terms making them easily understandable.
- Detail-oriented – Technical writer job description includes detail-oriented as one of the pre-requisite in an applicant. It helps in keeping the documentation organized and systematic.
- Teamwork – A technical writer is required to collaborate with several people including developers, editors, etc to do their work. They must be able to communicate well in both writing and verbally.
- Project Management – Project management is required for a technical writer to be able to plan a project and deliver it in time. They need to work around the deadline and have time management skills.
- Research Oriented – A technical writer has to conduct extensive research on a topic before writing documentation. They gather information from all the sources and double-check it to avoid mistakes.
- Interpersonal skills – Interpersonal skills are required to communicate with fellow technical writers, developers, team members, editors, SMEs etc. A technical content writer will have to collaborate with others on a day to day basis.
- Professionalism – A technical writer should have a professional approach to work and be able to handle problems with dignity. Especially freelance technical writers can get more projects if their work is ethical and professional.
- Teaching skills – A good technical writer should also possess teaching skills as it requires teaching readers in a simple manner after understanding something complex. The documentation prepared should help readers understand the topic.
- Love of technology and software – A love of technology and software is a must in a technical writer. They should be curious to learn new things and explore new technologies and trends.
- Flexibility – Each technical writer has their style which they should be willing to change based on the client’s requirements. Flexibility and adaptability are desired qualities in a technical writer.
Technical Writer Rate Per Hour
The average salary technical writer in the United States is paid comes around at 57,493 USD per year with 2000 USD cash bonus annually. Highest paying cities in the U.S include New York, Austin, Denver, Plano, etc. Technical writer salary Seattle comes at an average of $76624 annually.
San Francisco technical writer salary Bay Area is at an average of $104,388 per year. BLS technical writer’s average salary in the U.S is estimated to be 25.03 USD per hour. Europe has similar technical writer salaries as the U.S with an average salary of 46.87 Euros.
The top-paying industries for technical writers are social and civic organizations, transmission and distribution organizations, etc. Computer system design and related industries generate the highest number of jobs. Median salary technical writer roles in Asia earns approximates to $24,000 annually. Technical writer average salary also depends on the number of years of experience.
An entry-level technical writer pay scale is $0.10 per word which goes as high as $0.75 per word for a senior technical writer with 5 to 10 years of experience. The typical google technical writer salary is $105,283. Along with the salary, a technical writer is also compensated in terms of additional benefits like health insurance and paid vacation time.
Places to Find Best Technical Writer
Recruiters can find technical writers for their roles through the following technical writing websites. We have prepared a list of places to find best technical writer,
- Guru makes it easier to connect with freelance technical writers to recruiters. Technical writers in different niches such as aviation technical writer, IT technical writer, Science technical writer, software technical writer, oracle technical writer, Microsoft technical writer, medical technical writer, technical writer engineer, scientific technical writer, etc. can be hired here.
- Flexjobs is an online job portal where you can post both experienced and entry-level technical writer jobs. Hourly rate for technical writer roles varies based on years of experience.
- Freelancer is a marketplace which matches a Freelance technical writer to a potential employer. With more than 16 million users worldwide, Freelancer is a very popular website to hire technical writer intern, junior technical writer, technical writer consultant, etc.
- Fiverr is a freelancing website to hire different types of writers. Freelance technical writing rates are fairly affordable here. Technical writer remote jobs can be posted on Fiverr.
- Upwork is a global platform for remote workers. It is suitable for employers looking to hire a contract technical writer, technical writer freelance worker, remote technical writer, freelance technical writer, part time technical writer, technical writer work from home etc.
- Contently offers premium services to its clients by offering certified technical writer. Their prices are slightly higher and are suitable for companies with specific niches. Technical writer for hire is available here.
- unremot.com helps to discover global remote workforce. It is a promising market for technical writing companies to hire talent. People for technical writing consultant roles can be hired here.
- Indeed has a simple procedure to hire technical writers. Simply register yourself on Indeed and post your ad. Interested candidates will apply for the open position. Salaries technical writer earn depends on their work experience.
- Glassdoor is useful for those recruiters who are looking to hire an in house technical writer. Create a job listing based on your requirements and publish it on the Glassdoor job board.
- LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals. There are over 65 million professional accounts on LinkedIn. It is a great tool for employers to hire talent. Technical writer jobs near me can be found on LinkedIn.
Steps Involved in Hiring Best Technical Writer
Here are the steps involved in hiring best technical writer,
- Understand technical writing – Before you hire a technical writer, acquaint yourself with the basic knowledge of what is technical writing. It is important to understand about the field that you are attempting to hire from. Know more about what roles and responsibilities come under a technical writer.
- Discuss with the team and assess your needs – Have a team discussion regarding the scope of the project. Technical writer services expected from your employee and what skills should you look for in an applicant. For how long are you planning to hire a technical writer and what kind of work is expected from them during this duration.
- Choose a hiring model – Based on your requirements choose a hiring model whether you want a technical writer for a full-time, part-time, freelance role. If you are looking to hire for a single project, hiring a freelancer is a more obvious choice. Full-time employees should be hired if you want a technical writer for multiple projects.
- Write a proper Job Description – A proper job description is a must to attract potential employees. Use augmented writing tools such as Textio to ensure an unbiased job description which appeals to candidates from different demographics. A well written senior technical writer job description will help you hire talented and experienced individuals for the role.
- Look for candidate’s skills and knowledge – Technical writer resume is useful to screen the candidates for the role. One of the major skills to look for in a candidate is professionalism. They should also have a working knowledge of tools useful to complete the said project. Relevant technical writing experience is important for hiring an employee.
- Review experience and projects – Question the candidate about their experience and what kind of challenges have they overcome in their career. See samples of tech writer blogs to get a better understanding of their working style.
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Top 10 Interview Questions for Technical Writer
Employers or Companies that hire technical writers should know what to ask a potential candidate. These technical writer interview questions will help an employer to find the best match for their team. These questions are suitable for employers hiring for technical writer jobs entry level roles. Here are top 10 interview questions for technical writer,
1. What’s a technical writer? What do you know about the role of a technical writer?
Rationale: To check if the candidate can understand what is expected from a technical writer’s role. Technical writer job outlook can be assessed by this question.
Sample Answer: A technical writer is someone responsible to create technical documentation for a company. It involves planning, market research, interacting with SMEs, creating a document based on the gathered information.
2. Do you have tool experience? Which tools do you prefer to use?
Rationale: To see if the candidate also has a working experience with writing tools.
Sample Answer: Candidate should mention all the relevant programs and software tools they have working with such as MS Word, WordPress, RoboHelp, etc.
3. Could you explain the difference between Adobe Frame Maker and MS Word?
Rationale: The intent is to check the applicant’s technical knowledge.
Sample Answer: Both Adobe Frame Maker and MS Word are word processing tools. MS Word is used to process simple and small documents whereas Adobe Frame Maker is used for complex usages.
4. What kind of challenges do you face as a technical writer?
Rationale: To see how a candidate responds in the time of a crisis.
Sample Answer: I had to face several challenges as a technical writer. Sometimes the information gathered from SMEs and online sources is not enough and I had to work with very limited information.
5. Please explain the difference between a white paper and a blog?
Rationale: To see if the candidate can differentiate between different styles of documentation.
Sample Answer: White paper is a technical document that discusses technical things in a simple manner whereas a blog can be technical or non-technical.
6. What measures do you take to ensure high-quality content as a technical writer?
Rationale: A technical writer should not only produce content but also ensure the highest quality.
Sample Answer: I run keyword analysis research on given keywords and gather information from SMEs before starting to write the document.
7. Are you comfortable collaborating with other team members?
Rationale: This question will help you check if the candidate is a team player.
Sample Answer: Answer positively and elaborate your experience of working with the team.
8. What specific skill sets would you bring to the table as a technical writer?
Rationale: Helps in evaluating a candidate’s skillset and their strength.
Sample Answer: A candidate should be equipped with diverse skills with a focus on in-demand skills such as HTML, graphic designing, etc.
9. According to you, what roles and responsibilities do a job of technical writer entails?
Rationale: To check an applicant’s understanding of roles and responsibilities that come along with the job.
Sample Answer: A candidate should list things that they should get paid for.
10. What do you understand by Topic-based Authoring?
Rationale: To analyze the technical knowledge of the candidate.
Sample Answer: Topic-based Authoring is a technical writing concept that focuses on creating content on narrow, specific topics.
Top 10 Tools to Use While Hiring Technical Writer
The top 10 tools to use while hiring technical writer by recruiters are,
- Textio – Textio is an augmented writing tool used to write effective job descriptions. Its natural language processing system suggests correction if any in the text.
- Job Pal – Job Pal is a conversation chat box that works across Skype, Messenger, Slack, etc that allows you to connect with potential employers over a chat instead of talking to them.
- Zoom – Zoom is a virtual meeting assistant for recruiters. It lets candidates schedule calls and meetings on their own by looking at your availability in the calendar.
- Printfection – It helps in making remote onboarding processes for remote employees more exciting and personal by sending them swag kits. It can prep, store and ship onboarding kits anywhere in the world.
- Upwork – Upwork is an online freelancer job market to find employees for part-time and full-time work.
- Gun – If you wish to have a long term relationship with your freelance employee then Gun.io would be of help. They provide full-time freelancers at a fair and honest rate.
- ZapInfo – Zapinfo is a tool used to extract details of an applicant such as name, contact number, email id from the LinkedIn profile and automatically paste into your ATS for future tracking.
- Calendly – Calendly helps you schedule appointments without going back and forth with a person. Simply set your availability and send the link to the other party who will then fix a time suited to both the parties.
- Pymetrics – Pymetrics builds cognitive profiles by evaluating an applicant based on neuro-science based games. Algorithms match them with a suitable job based on their evaluation report.
- Lusha – Lusha sifts through thousands of profiles to provide an email address and contact numbers of the candidates to help you reach out to them directly.
Dos and Don’ts While Hiring Technical Writer
One should keep the following dos and don’ts while hiring technical writer,
- Do check if the candidate has tool experience which helps in improved efficiency.
- Do prepare an unbiased job description for the role.
- Do run a background check on the candidate to check references.
- Do ensure that the candidate you are hiring is a team player.
- Do hire someone inquisitive and curious.
- Do check the technical skills of your candidate required for the project.
- Do ensure that the candidate puts quality first.
- Do check their communication and interpersonal skills.
- Do a portfolio check and look at sample projects done by them in the past.
- Do maintain a transparent approach throughout the interview process.
- Do not restrict your search to local technical writers.
- Do not hire someone with a lack of tool knowledge.
- Do not hire a candidate with poor grammar skills.
- Do not think that a higher rate means better writing quality.
- Do not keep the candidate in dark regarding your expectations from them.
- Do not hire a technical writer to fill in a typists position.
- Do not just stick to written words. Rather ask your technical writer to create video tutorials.
- Do not hire someone who compromises on quality.
- Do not hire someone who is not willing to change their approach based on the client’s needs.
- Do not stress interview your candidate.
How do I hire a technical writer?
If you are an employer looking to hire a technical writer for your team, technical writer resumes are a great way to get an insight into the candidate’s work experience and qualification. Understand what you are looking for in a technical author and try to assess the technical curiosity of the applicant.
How much do technical writers charge per hour?
Technical writer hourly rate is set to an average of 68 USD per hour for experienced writers. The rate may vary based on years of experience and location of employment. An entry level technical writer earns less than an experienced content writer. Salaries technical writer professionals earn are less for technical writer entry level jobs.