Senior Technical Writer Salary
Senior Technical Writers in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — over three-fourths have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $60K to $119K per year, median earnings come to $80K per year. Overall cash earnings for Senior Technical Writers stretch from $60K on the lower end to $119K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $12K from bonuses and $8K from profit sharing. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by the company, followed by the particular city and years of experience. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 55 percent. A large number report receiving medical and dental coverage from their employers and a fair number collect vision insurance. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Senior Technical Writer
Senior technical writers create detailed articles for magazines or online journals and publications in specialized fields, and may also write and edit technical operators' manuals and even certification tests. The senior-level designation normally implies that they handle the most important technical writing within a company, and they may also assign and edit the work of junior-level technical writers and review their submissions for accuracy.Read More...
Knowledge of subject matter is what separates a technical writer from standard journalists, and senior technical writers typically specialize in fields of expertise such as computer hardware, software, engineering, or other industrial or professional fields. Many also have extensive professional and educational backgrounds within these fields. In many cases, their writing is aimed at a knowledgeable audience with experience in the subject matter, so they must be fluent in the jargon and terminology of that particular field.
When senior technical writers develop operating manuals and certification tests, they typically enlist other individuals to test the clarity of instructions and provide feedback on the material as presented. Most technical writers also use a strenuous revision process through multiple iterations of their work, whether it is for professional journals, public online publishing, or technical operating guides. Senior technical writers may also lead a team of writers on larger projects, issue assignments, and edit and review submissions.
A senior technical writer typically needs a broad and varied educational background, and expertise within a given subject matter may require a degree or certification in that field. In addition to practical experience, a demonstrated ability to write for publications is also required, and many senior technical writers have either dual majors, including journalism or writing degrees, or master's level education. Senior technical writers typically work for journals and publications, but are also employed by software companies, medical equipment specialists, and in any field that requires extensive, detailed, and complex user documentation.
Senior Technical Writer Tasks
- Organize, review, and write materials for clarity and message.
- Standardize documentation for layout, style, and language, and create templates and scripts to automate as possible.
- Work with project teams to create documentation for diverse groups.
- Track revisions and edits, and maintain files.
- Review and improve formatting and visual components, and select drawings and specifications.
Common Career Paths for Senior Technical Writer
Senior Technical Writers who transition into an upper level Technical Publications Manager position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Technical Publications Manager makes $77K a year. Senior Technical Writers most frequently advance into Documentation Manager and Technical Editor roles even though the median salaries are $11K lower and $27K lower, respectively.
Senior Technical Writer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Senior Technical Writer
Microsoft Corp, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Salesforce.com, Inc., and CA Technologies are among the top companies that take on many Senior Technical Writers. The biggest paychecks can be found at Salesforce.com, Inc. — the median salary there is $137K.
Popular Skills for Senior Technical Writer
Survey results imply that Senior Technical Writers deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in XML, HTML, Adobe FrameMaker, and Microsoft Visio are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Acrobat. It is not unusual for someone who knows Editing to be familiar with Writing Procedures & Documentation as well.
Pay by Experience Level for Senior Technical Writer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Senior Technical Writers, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $66K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $76K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $84K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $88K.
Pay Difference by Location
With a pay rate for Senior Technical Writers that is 43 percent greater than the national average, San Francisco offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Senior Technical Writers will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+42 percent), Seattle (+27 percent), Boston (+21 percent), and Redwood City (+20 percent). In Houston, salaries are 12 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Workers in Austin and Minneapolis earn less than others in this profession; their salaries fall short of the national average by 7 percent.