Education

What kind of degree do you need to be a tech writer? This is not such an easy question to answer because tech writers are involved in many different types of industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the top employers include companies in the fields of hardware and software, electronics, engineering, and the sciences (eg, medicine).

While it goes without saying that you will need excellent writing skills to even be considered for a tech writing position, the exact nature of degree requirements really depends on the company.

An electronics manufacturing company in Boston, for example, wants a tech writer who has an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or electronics. In Gaithersburg, Maryland, there is a company looking for a tech writer who has a BS in biology. But, you’ll also see ads for someone with a degree in English or journalism.

My best advice is to pursue what truly interests you. You may want to begin your career by earning a bachelor’s degree or a certificate in tech writing. This can lead to a job writing manuals for a software company, which can then trigger you to pursue a graduate degree in computer science. Something else to keep in mind is that some larger companies will pay a percentage of your tuition, which is a great incentive to return to school.

Just remember that the most important skill for a tech writer is, of course, being a strong writer. And this is a skill that continually needs to be developed. You have to keep pushing yourself to connect with your intended audience and to write clearly and concisely.


Works Cited

Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Technical Writers." Occupational Outlook Handbook, 17 Dec. 2009. Web. <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos319.htm>.