I receive a lot of e-mail from tech support professionals who are burned out on working the help desk and who are tired of carrying pagers. They wonder if they can make any money in tech writing. My standard response is usually, "You must love to write, and you mustn't mind being edited."
Even if you love computers but have no interest in doing technical writing, I know some of you are closet novelists or sci-fi writers. One of the nice things about being a technical writer, however, is that much of the available work can be done by telecommuting. If you're thinking of throwing your hat into the technical writing ring, start your research by checking out these four resources for technical writers.
Note: At the time of this writing, none of the sites recommended below displayed any pop-ups or other obnoxious ads.
If you've ever wondered how much per hour a technical writer earns, surf over to JustTechWriterJobs. On the home page, you'll see Today's Top Paying Tech Writer Jobs. You can also add your two cents to the salary survey or view the results of the site's ongoing salary survey. The Quick Tech Writer Search utility lets you search for jobs by locality. Like most job sites, you'll need to register to take advantage of all of the benefits JustTechWriterJobs offers.
By the way, JustTechWriterJobs is part of the JustTechJobs family. When you visit that page, you can search for jobs in categories such as Access, AS/400, Baan, C/C++, COBOL, ColdFusion, DB2, Exchange, Java, NetWare, Networking, Notes, Oracle, PDA, PeopleSoft, Perl, Project Manager, Security, Siebel, SQL Server, Telephony, UNIX, Visual Basic, Windows, Wireless, and XML.
Writing all over the world
Nothing says you have to limit yourself to providing tech-writing services in your own backyard. To search for technical writing jobs available throughout the world, check out Technical Writing with Gary Conroy. This site, from the About network, features links to material for beginners, as well as sample policy and procedure manuals.
Writers write (always!)
The folks at Writers Write, Inc. have set up what they call a "one-stop resource for information about books, writing, and publishing." Although the site's focus isn't on technical writing jobs, you'll usually find a few good technical writing positions listed on the Job Listings page.
On the content side, the site features specialized sections for technical writing, Internet writing, medical writing, and traditional journalism. There's also a Writers On Call section that lets you advertise your services.
Researching potential employers
The final site I'd like to recommend is the Technical Writing section of ComputerJobs.com. I like the options available for displaying job listings on the home page (brief, summary, and details).
Even if you're not interested in technical writing, you might want to get the skinny on a potential new employer. Click the IT Resources tab and click Company Resources. The resulting page contains links to dozens of companies who, in most cases for a fee, can tell you everything you need to know about a company with whom you're considering doing business.
Document for success
If you'd like to recommend your favorite resources for freelance or full-time technical writing jobs, please post a note below or write to Jeff.