Engineering writing jobs usually involve some form of writing. Companies like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft have vacancies for positions that deal with writing and are related to engineering. Engineering can refer to many different spheres:
- computer science;
- industrial work;
and much more. Therefore, the scope of this field is quite wide.
A technical writer is a person that focuses on composing documents that relate to specific information pertinent for a company. The usual technical documents that need to be written are policy information, handbooks, guidebooks, web content, “about us” sections of websites, organizational documents, and anything else the deals with technical information.
This position requires one to be competent in a multitude of fields, and to be able express ideas clearly. Oftentimes, you need to write about complex subjects in a concise manner. Technical writing also requires one to be an excellent editor, as this position is regarded as a management position by most companies. Large companies do not want to hold your hand during the writing and editing process—they expect you to be an initiator and to be knowledgeable in what you write right off the bat. Employers might get annoyed if you ask too many questions. Being speedy in your work is also favored.
How to become a technical writer connected to engineering writing jobs is a sound question. First off, you should have a degree related to writing and/or engineering. Preferably, you have a degree in technical writing, writing in general, editing, engineering, journalism, teaching, or something related to these degrees. Obtaining at least a BA is required, while having an MA works even better in your favor. Getting a PhD is not necessary. What is most important, however, is your previous experience in technical writing and your portfolio of technical writing. Having even an internship in technical writing on your resume will increase your chances of getting hired, though in-office paid work experience is better. Having many samples of your technical writing is also essential. Have at least three samples of your technical writing so employers can gauge what your style is and your competency. With a proper resume and a solid portfolio, getting engineering writing jobs can be a cinch.
Be aware, however, that technical writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. It can be perceived as boring and tedious by many. Though the money amounts to being well-paid, the influx of cash alone can sometimes be not enough for people to keep working in this field for long. If you enjoy extremely-detailed information, research, and understanding complex ideas, this position can work out for you. If you also enjoy writing succinctly and in a straightforward manner, this position can also be a fine fit for you. However, it is best not to get into the job of technical writer simply for the money. This type of writing can become a type of torture for people who enjoy only marketing writing or more creative forms of writing.
Though a technical writer for companies such Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing is the most common position in terms of engineering writing jobs, working as a textbook writer is also a viable option. Engineering students need to learn from these textbooks, and if you want to change students’ lives directly, this is a respectable occupation.
In order to become a textbook writer, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree related to writing, technical writing, engineering, journalism, communications, and other associated degrees. Having a master’s degree will ensure that you get even more work. The prime importance is put on one’s previous experience writing educational text, however, and on one’s portfolio of writing samples. Though most employers want you to have previous experience as a textbook writer or a writer of educational pieces, completing an internship can sometimes be enough for you to get hired. Be proactive when in college and take internships that center on textbook writing if you want to garner a position as a textbook writer in the future.
Though textbook writers are not highly in demand, they can make a solid salary above the average national income in the US. But, you should not to become a textbook writer for simply the money: you should care about how students learn essential material about engineering and how to best convey complex information in succinct form.
Academic journals, magazines, and books need writers too. Mostly, these writers are professors and other types of experts in engineering. They submit their theses and dissertations to academic journals, magazines, and anthologies to be published. Sometimes, academic writers can create bestsellers with pertinent information and with personable writing. Also, many readers are interested in history. Engineering has a long, important history that intertwines with many other fields. So, if you want to write a book about engineering and its history, it can be highly appreciated by readers.
Some academic writers doing engineering writing jobs can become columnists for newspapers and other periodicals. Their expertise is needed in certain sections of periodicals such as science, mechanics, and technology. Becoming a columnist is not that easy, though. There is a lot of competition in this realm, because it is a writer’s dream to be paid consistently for something he or she enjoys to write.
To reach the pinnacle (becoming a columnist), one needs to have expertise in engineering and writing. Being a professor of engineering will definitely help, but also being a person who has published many papers on engineering will also aid you in landing a columnist job. You should have a firm, stuffed resume of previous experience, and a solid portfolio with at least three samples of your work when you submit your application to be a columnist at a company.
Say you are an engineer, but enjoy writing on the side: you can take up freelance writing. Freelance writing can encompass many types of compositions, such as technical writing, creative writing, copywriting, web writing, and more. However, if you are looking for engineering writing jobs on freelance websites, you will take up tasks that will involve technical writing or other nonfiction writing that relates to articles, whitepapers, and essays.
Many engineers enjoy sharing their knowledge with the world at large, as becoming a freelance writer is a good opportunity to do just that. You can find tasks on freelance websites that pertain to what you want to express. Though clients often have a vision of what kind of content they want, you can inject your own experience and ideas into that framework.
To become a freelancer, you should have at least a BA in a field related to what you will being freelancing in, and also have a sizable portfolio of sample work that you can showcase to potential clients. In addition, you should be comfortable with working alone and be self-motivated. If you can’t work without someone over your shoulder telling you what to do, this position may not be the best choice for you.
Writing While Being an Engineer
Though engineers usually have expertise in mathematics, mechanics, science, and more, writing is almost always a component of being an engineer, whether or not you search for engineering writing jobs or not.
Almost every engineering job requires one to write a plan of action or a plan of how one will engineer a given object. Knowing how to write these plans properly requires skill and organizational fluency. Plans comes in many forms, such as outlines, maps, lists, schemes, and more.
Also, using email is another essential activity in nearly all jobs nowadays. Whether or not you believe you are skilled in writing emails, it is best to refresh and reassess how fine your skills are in email writing. Many people forget the etiquette for email writing: having a proper subject line, an appropriate introduction, organizing thoughts into paragraphs well, and ending with a closing remark and contact information. In addition, many people forget to edit their emails at least once before submitting them. This is crucial to remember, as minor mistakes can become major gaffs when it involves big money—even small money. The organizing of emails in one’s inbox is also key to being focused during work, and all these skills are related to being a writer. A writer is not only a person who writes well, but also a person who understands how to format content and to be organized in the amassing of writing that any person accumulates over a span of time.
Many companies require employees to write performance reviews, and engineers are not an exception. Knowing how to write in an organized, flowing, concise, and communicative way will impress your boss and secure your position for the future. Furthermore, knowing how to edit properly will guarantee you will not make slips with your performance reviews and cause undue concern or criticism from executives. Though the higher ups don’t expect engineers to be acclaimed writers, they do appreciate their employees being competent enough to write a polished performance review that can be looked at with ease and understood without barriers.