Is Technical Writing a Good Career in India

Most frequently, people opt for technical writing and after a year or two, they express the desire to make a transition into quality assurance or development because they feel that they will be paid better or that they have better prospects in those fields. The youngsters today probably don’t realize that they should choose a profession that they enjoy doing and which gives them satisfaction in terms of work, roles, and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, most of them focus on the remuneration and not at their own interests, flaws, or drawbacks. They don’t realize that if they over come their drawbacks and change their attitude, they can progress well in any chosen field.

Example: A dog held a juicy bone in his jaws as he crossed a bridge over a brook. When he looked down into the water he saw another dog below with a bigger, juicier bone. He jumped into the brook to snatch the bigger bone, letting go his own bone. He quickly learned of course that the bigger bone was just a reflection, and so he ended up with nothing.

Remember, having a job in hand that you enjoy doing is better than any other dream job! You probably feel that some other job is better than this… (it may be), but who knows?

The most frequently asked question is, “Is technical writing as good a career in India as anywhere else?” The only answer to this question is yes. Should we have second thoughts about our own abilities? It is high time we erase such thoughts away from our minds and accept the fact that technical writing in India is as good as anywhere else if not better. If it were not so, it would not have been a booming field. The technical writers in India have been well accepted irrespective of the fact that more than 90% of the writers learn the work on the job, without any prior education in the field.

Those in this field for more than a decade do not have formal training in technical writing. You should be proud of yourself because you are a self-starter. Most of you have built careers in technical writing on your own, the more fortunate ones were trained for the job by the organization. Each one of you probably came from different walks of life (journalists, teachers, engineers, and computer professionals) but the unified dream of being a technical writer has brought us all this far.

Technical writing is very much here to stay. It has been growing slowly, but steadily and firmly since the last decade. As the awareness of having good documentation is increasing, the profession is also growing by leaps and bounds. We are very competent and can do the job well. We should have the interest the right attitude and fine-tune our skills. Having said this, I also like to add that we still have a long way to go in terms of getting the respect we actually need to hold. To gauge the state of technical writing in India at a base level, answer to the following questions sincerely (you may add to this list):

How many people understand the job profile of a technical writer?

  • Have you ever heard any student (school going or college going) say that they want to take up technical writing as a career?
  • How many Indian universities offer degree programs (or atleast part time courses) in the field of technical writing/communication?
  • How many books on technical writing related topics have been published in India by Indian writers?
  • How many Indian publishers are ready to publish books on this subject?
  • How many advertisements for the technical writing jobs appear in the newspapers?
  • Are there any well known journals or magazines devoted to the field of technical writing, just as Femina, Stardust, Digit, and Inside-Outside are known for their respective fields?
  • What percent of the freshers applying for the technical writing positions actually know about technical writing?
  • What is the average gap between the salaries of a programmer and a technical writer?
  • Do organizations have a career path set for the technical writers?
  • Do organizations spend time, effort, and/or money for the professional development of the technical writers working with them?
  • How many organizations voluntarily sponsor STC membership for their employees?
  • How many organizations sponsor their technical writers to attend the STC meetings?
  • More importantly how many organizations (read management) know about the STC?
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4 Responses

  1. Those are very relevant questions sajitha, last time i tried updating my profile in Naukri and monster, i was surprised to see that none of those sites had Technical Writer as a job role or Technical Writing as a Field. I don’t see technical writing job ads in paper either.
    The burning question is: how many developers, testers and managers take technical writers seriously and give them their time and effort needed for proper documentation?

    • Hi Reshma,

      These days developers, testers and project managers of many organizations take technical writers seriously. We need to remember that they themselves have thier own work/responsibilities to complete. So, even if they want to, most of the time documentation takes a back seat.

      We, as technical writers need to take that extra initiative to:
      1. Understand the requirement and create the draft.
      2. Do you home work when going to meet the developers with queries.
      3. Ask the right questions, so that you get the right answers.
      4. Ensure to complete the draft on time
      5. Send the doc for review well in advance.
      6. Give them enough time to review the documents well.

      Doing these things will mkae their life easier as well. As they gain your confidence and respect your knowledge, you can maintain a good and healthy work relation.

      I hope I answered your qustion.

      Thanks,
      Sajitha

  2. Thanks for all the information shared. I’m in need of inputs for making a career change from software development to technical writer. I’m afraid that I cannot make a change now as I have 10+ years of experience. But my liking always has been towards this. Please share all your opinion on this.

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