Get Paid to Write (Not Code) in Tech

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Writing code is not the only way to break into Tech. However, you can get paid to write in Tech. I work with engineers daily and trust me, if it wasn’t for us tech writers, a lot of the websites and apps you use every day would be a tad difficult to use and understand.

So you may be asking, what does a tech writer do anyway?

So glad you asked. The short version – we write instructions. The slightly more interesting version, we tell people what to do. Ok, jokes aside, the most prominent type of documentation we create include help center articles, product specifications, and manuals.

However, this career path has evolved so much over the years that we mostly write web and app copy. For example, when you open up your Google maps app, the first call-to-action (CTA) is to “Search here.” It’s short, sweet, and direct. Once you tap, you have the option to enter a particular destination, narrow your search by restaurant, gas stations, ATMs, and more, or you can choose from your most recent search history.

A tech writer often crafts all of the text you see on the screen [aka user-interface/UI] text. We work closely with UI designers to help improve the user experience so that, in this case, it is straightforward to find a location. See more real-world examples here.

Why NOW is the time to become a tech writer

The demand is super high for tech writers because software products, the web and mobile apps, and new technologies are on the rise. Before 2014, I never even heard of UX/UI [user experience/user interface] writers. Now, new roles and specialties are popping up in every sector.

I give you the scoop on some of the most popular tech writing roles available today, what the average salary is for those starting out, and more in my free

I give you the scoop on some of the most popular tech writing roles available today, what the average salary is for those starting out, and more in my free 5-day email course.

However, the key thing to note is that no matter how robust and complex the products and apps are and continue to become (i.e. data analysis and artificial intelligence), the need to break things down to layman’s terms will ALWAYS be there.

Who should become a tech writer?

If you have a knack for translating complex subjects and making things easier to understand, then technology writing may be the career for you. Want to test your skills? Try explaining how you would warn a customer about a $50 late fee for an $8 purchase.

It goes without saying, but you should enjoy writing. This type of writing is different from say writing a novel or blog post though. Your style of writing as a tech writer is very instructional. These are skills you can work on, and I break it down for you in my training course – Get Paid to Write in Tech.

How to get started as a tech writer?

You have to show and prove that you have the skills to be considered a viable candidate for any position in tech. The best way to do so is by building up your portfolio.

Start writing how-tos and tutorials for your favorite website or app. Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing.

    • Chase
    • JetBlue
    • Evernote
    • Uber/Lyft
    • Google maps
    • WhatsApp

To get more tips like this and training exercises to help you land a tech writing job, sign up for my free video series.


Picture from #wocintechchat

 

If you are looking for a new role, check out our new job platform: pocitjobs.com
Kimmoy Matthews
Kimmoy Matthews

Kimmoy is an engineer turned content strategist and tech writer who is passionate about traveling and dancing. She dreams of salsa dancing in Colombia, but for now, she’s found her happy “work” place in the world of Tech, writing for cool apps every day and training others to become tech writers. To get more tips like this and training exercises to help you land a tech writing job, sign up for her free video series.

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  • Olusegun Adedeji

    The post was timely and very helpful. Thanks for sharing. You just got a fan.

    • Glad you found it helpful!

  • Thank you for a great article, Kimmoy! It’s giving me ideas of what I could write when things are tough in my industry (mental health).

  • I’ve been complaining to POCIT since I signed up for the newsletter that I don’t see enough tech writers profiled on the site… but we out here!

    I’ve been a tech writer for 10 years now, but in software for only about 3-4. Once I landed my first tech writing gig in software though, it was a wrap. I never looked back.

    While some folks imagine tech writing as this boring, bland job where you sit in a dark cubicle banging away at a keyboard alone, it is actually a very engaging and challenging job. The trick is to find an employer that values writers, which isn’t a given by any means. But my job is anything but boring, and so much of what I do doesn’t involve writing words; most of what I do is research, planning, and interviewing SMEs (subject matter experts). In addition to my writing ability, it’s my interpersonal skills that set me apart as a technical writer, because I’m naturally a very curious person.

    I currently work in the Design department as part of “the product triad” between designers, product managers, and dev leadership. My unofficial title is “IX Writer” (IX = information experience), and I provide all kinds of writerly-type advice to my team. I dabble in code, and have an enormous amount of autonomy (when I want it) to work on projects I find valuable or interesting.

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t aspire to become a tech writer right away; my mother (an English professor) was the one who insisted I try an “Intro to Tech Writing” course, her knowing my penchant for tech and my love of writing (I was a creative writing major for a while also, but I didn’t have the luxury of becoming a starving artist, I had kids very young).

    I wrote this little rant for a few reasons, the first to give readers another idea of the life of a tech writer. The second is to encourage folks to give tech writing a try. The field can be lucrative, and being a tech writer has landed me jobs even before I graduated, landed me jobs with Fortune-500 companies (household names), and even got me a paid relocation to Australia!

    Everything Kimmoy described is true, and she might have even been a bit modest (tech writers are also notoriously humble…).

    To the author,

    Could we please get in touch? I am always on the lookout for networking opportunities with other POCIT, and doubly so in the case of fellow brown-skinned writers =)

    Here’s a link to my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnapaz

    I would really love to start a dialog between us, in hopes we could maybe collaborate on a project in the future, or just swap stories or ideas.

    I really must say that this article has made my day, and many thanks to POCIT for this wonderful profile of this incredible human who so wonderfully portrays my trade. It makes my heart smile to see people like me doing what I do… because Lord knows there aren’t a lot of us.

    Finally (swear I’m about to wrap this up), to anyone who wants to ask questions or get advice or needs a tech writing mentor… HOLLER AT ME! You can get in touch via LinkedIn, or any of my contact information on Disqus. You could just reply here and we can kick it off that way too. Whatever works. I’m just trying to pay it forward, and I’d be willing to help in anyway I’m able to help you start (or transition to) a career in tech writing.

  • Emily DeBarbieri | UnoDosTrae

    Great post! I love the tech industry but I’m not tech savvy at all 🙂 Never thought of taking my writing skills to the tech world, thanks for positing!

    • Yes, the tech industry can’t just be filled with developers and coders, hehe. Glad the article gave you some insights, let me know if you join me on this tech writing journey 🙂