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Technical Writer Ranks Among Best Jobs in America
2006, Q2 (February 26, 2007)
By Patrick Lufkin, Past-President of the San Francisco Chapter
Patrick Lufkin
Patrick Lufkin

Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from ActiveVOICE, newsletter of the San Francisco Chapter, April/May 2006 issue.

Money magazine has ranked technical writer high among the best jobs in America.

Of 216 jobs reported on, technical writer ranked 13. Several other technical communication specialties also did well: curriculum developer (18), editor (19), and just plain writer (25).

As vocations go in America, technical writing does very well. The magazine found that 50 percent of technical writers make more than $57,230 per year and that 5 percent make more than $95,538. Projected 10 year job growth for the field was 23.22 percent.

Technical writing also did well when given letter grades on the basis of job satisfaction criteria: stress (B), flexibility (B), creativity (B), and difficulty (C).

The job of software engineer topped the list based on strong growth prospects, high average pay ($80,500) and potential for creativity. College professors placed second, based on a variety of factors including compensation, flexibility, creativity, low number of work hours, and high number of vacation days.

The study was conducted by Money magazine, published by Time Inc., and Salary.com, compensation experts based in Needham, Massachusetts. Starting with data on some 250 job fields from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and salary data from Salary.com, they eliminated job fields with low pay, a small employment base, dangerous work environments, or few openings.

They followed up with online surveys to 26,000 people to rank the remaining job fields based on a number of job satisfaction criteria, including stress levels, flexibility in hours and working environment, creativity, and ease of entry and advancement. Finally the positions were ranked, with double weight given to compensation and projected growth rates.

The findings were released on the Internet on April 12, and will appear in Money's May issue. Full details can be found at CNNMoney, the online home of Money magazine. Go to http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/ and follow the links.

Patrick Lufkin can be reached at lufkin at ix dot netcom dot com.End of article.

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