Techcomm Careers in 2014

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Information about Techcomm Careers in 2014

Published on March 10, 2014

Author: cklinger500



A presentation about career paths in technical communication, along with salary data previously reported by both the Society for Technical Communication ( and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

PRESENTED BY CAROLYN KLINGER SLIDES BY CAROLYN KLINGER, RACHEL HOUGHTON, BETHANY AGUAD, DAN VOSS, LISA MILEUSNICH, AND LORI MEYER Careers in Technical Communication Presentation for Allen Brizee’s Rhetoric of Professional Writing Class Loyola University Maryland February 20, 2014

Agenda  Technical communication  What it is  Body of Knowledge  Disciplines  Show me the money  Comparative salaries  Local industries and jobs  Paths to careers in techcomm  Society for Technical Communication  Membership levels  Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter

Technical Communication is… • Communicating about technical or specialized topics by using technology, including emerging new media • Contributing to business goals by designing and enhancing internal communications and by reusing content in cost-effective ways.

Body of Knowledge • The definitive online resource for information about the profession of technical communication • Experienced technical communicators, educators and instructors, and students are invited to contribute to the TCBOK! • Go to the STC collaboration site at to learn, contribute, and add to your online portfolio

You Can Contribute!

Disciplines • Technical writing & editing • Content strategy • Information architecture • Advertising & marketing communication • Science writing (and ―ghost writing‖) • Medical writing • Work for nonprofit organizations (grant proposals, etc.) • Usability and accessibility • Instructional design • Indexing

Interdisciplinary Approach An interdisciplinary approach is essential to successful technical communication, because the profession spans so many disciplines.

Technical Writing & Editing  Hardware and software documentation  Policies and procedures  White papers  Textbooks  Proposals  Marketing materials  Video scripts  Magazine articles  Copy editing for publishers

Medical Writing  Editing or ghost-writing articles by physicians for medical journals  Patient-oriented websites  Flyers describing illnesses and treatments, for doctors’ offices  Medical transcription  Instructions for prescription medication  Marketing materials and web sites  Instructions for using medical devices such as X-ray machines  Biotech

Work for Nonprofit Organizations  Grant proposals  Fund-raising collaterals  Literature for clients of the nonprofit groups  Web site design, content, and maintenance

Advertising & Marketing Communications  Advertising  Print  Radio  TV  Billboards  Web sites  Social media  Marketing collateral  Brochures  Flyers  Fact sheets  Trade show graphics  Narrated video  Web sites

Show Me the Money • Technical communication spans many disciplines, so the job market is huge • Unless technology stands still, it will always be a growth market • Smart companies realize that poor writing and poor communication hurt their bottom line

Tech Writing is One of the Best Jobs in America . jobs/2013/snapshots/86.html

BLS Tracks Salary and Outlook

Tech Writing Employment is Growing

Growing Job Market There are 46,100+ technical writers in the U.S.! Geographical Distribution of Jobs in Technical Communication

Where the Jobs Are This table, showing BLS data that STC compiled, compares the salaries for the top 10 states with the largest numbers of jobs in technical writing. Maryland is #4!

Where the Jobs Are Going This table, showing BLS data that STC compiled, we see that some metro areas are gaining more technical writing jobs than others. Maryland is doing well and is gaining jobs.

Tech Writing Salaries Around the U.S. 2012 Tech Writing Median Annual Wage in Selected Metropolitan Areas The higher the concentration of technology and industry, the higher the salaries.

Local Industries .  Biotech/Medical/Science  Computer hardware  Computer software  Computer networking and security  Consumer products  Telecommunications  Finance  Academia  Government/Defense/Aerospace  Nonprofit organizations

Local Jobs from .

Paths to Careers in Techcomm

Tap Core Skills • Writing accurately • Writing clearly • Writing concisely • Writing coherently • Writing creatively • Tapping diverse media • Crossing boundaries and cultures

Job Search Tips for Students  Start your portfolio now (print, web, or CD)  Class papers/projects  Any writing/editing you may have done at a job  Find your own writing opportunities! Can you document something at your job (or improve something that was documented badly)?  An internship is a plus but not necessarily required. How to get an internship:  Does the college have a career center?  For underclassmen, internships not related to writing are still resume builders.  Juniors and seniors should probably focus on writing internships.  Where do your parents work? Do they have technical writers, corporate communication departments? Do they offer internships?  Download 30-day software trials to learn on your own and show initiative.  Shadow a professional for a day (or partial day).

On-the-Job Training Before tech writing programs appeared in universities, ―OJT‖ was the only path to a career in technical communication

Degree Programs  B.A. in techcomm  M.A. in techcomm  Ph.D. in techcomm  Undergraduate minor in techcomm  A certificate based on a given number of courses in techcomm

Professional Certification  STC-developed professional certification program  Portfolio-based, not test- based  Candidates submit work samples demonstrating core competencies  Faster and cheaper than degrees or certificates

Career Growth Networking within your STC Communities Job Search and Placement Career Advancement Professional Development

Joining STC

Benefits of Membership • Affiliation (geographic or virtual) with an STC student chapter • Affiliation (geographic or virtual) with an STC geographic chapter • Affiliation with one STC special interest group (SIG) in a technical communication discipline of particular interest to you • Access to salary scales, job listings, and other valuable intellectual property on the international STC web site • Opportunities to expand your network and build skills through volunteering

Benefits of Membership (Cont.)  Eligibility for STC student mentoring programs  Professional networking  Online access to industry-leading professional publications  Reduced rates for STC conferences, webinars (plus free webinars), and certification in technical communication

Membership Levels Student Membership $75/year New Technical Communicator $160/year Classic $225/year

Your Local Chapter is at

FAQs on Local Chapter Site • "I have a degree in English—what can I do with it?" and the related links • "What is Technical Communication?" • "What does a technical writer do?" • How do I become a technical communicator? • How do I get into this field without any experience? • How can I find a job in technical communication? • Communication Careers Books

Thank you for Coming! Feel free to contact me! Carolyn Kelley Klinger @cklinger

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