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Professional/Technical writing jobs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by smsu_scribe, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    What's the job market like right now for professional and technical writing? Has to be better than journalism, I assume. The average starting salary is obviously a lot higher. Maybe some people here have experience in that side of the writing biz.
  2. bob

    bob Member

    I have no experience, but as I understand it, comparing sportswriting to professional/technical writing is like comparing model airplace building to rocket science. Isn't it? I mean, I don't know if you can just jump from one to the other if the sportswriting gig isn't working out. Maybe I'm wrong.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You would have to have a science background for technical writing gigs in this economy.
  4. spud

    spud Member

    Most technical writing opportunities require knowledge of the field for which you are applying, and most of those are within science or technological fields. Lot's of B.S. degree requirements.

    It's a little like applying to be the Lakers beat writer without ever having heard of the Lakers.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If you can find a technical writing job, I'd go for it.

    As Stitch says, the folks looking can be mighty picky.

    I think most successful sports writers could handle a technical writing job, but they might go crazy from boredom. I don't know.
  6. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    I see what you're saying, bob and spud. Right now I'm majoring in Professional Writing. While my goal is to make it as a sportswriter, the professional writing is kinda the realistic Plan B. So as far as the degree, I'll be "qualified" for professional writing. That was the reason I asked.
  7. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    Good to have a backup plan.
  8. bob

    bob Member

    OK, Scribe, now it all makes sense. Best of luck either way.
  9. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    You are.
  10. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    I was a sportswriter; I now work in technology. I've had to write a fair bit of technical documentation and training manuals.

    In many ways, it's the same skill set. You have to be precise and concise in your language, and you have to have enough curiosity to learn a little something about your assignment. You also have to ask a lot of questions and present the answers properly.

    If you have some design skill, that helps too. I design most of my own documents, and I understand levels of typography and know when to use tricks like breaking out a certain concept in a glance box.

    And yes, as someone posted earlier, overcoming boredom is the biggest challenge. I try to find creative, interesting ways to present the information. Use-case documentation, user manuals, PowerPoints, etc., don't necessarily *have* to be boring.
  11. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    Thanks, File. So besides the discussion of whether or not a sportswriter can do the job, how is the job outlook in the technical field? At least, in comparison to sportswriting.
  12. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    About the same, to be honest. Many technical writers are hired on a contract basis for a particular project. The upside: The hours are *way* better. :)
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