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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Technical Writing Major?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Students passionate about writing may be considering a technical writing major, which means they will work toward a degree in writing. This is a great profession that will allow the writer the opportunity to use his or skills and talents in a variety of industries, but this career choice may not be right for everyone. Even if the student has a passion for writing, a technical writing major may not be the best choice; writers must often work on a contract or freelance basis, which can be exceptionally difficult. If he or she works for a specific company, the work can be tedious and exceptionally challenging.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to the technical writing major is the job outlook after graduation. While many technical writing positions will be available, the competition for such jobs can be quite fierce, and it may end up becoming difficult for a recent graduate to get experience in the field. This is why many writers begin to do freelance work, which means he or she essentially works for himself or herself. The writer will offer services to various companies and work as a subcontractor for those companies.

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This of course means a technical writing major can open up a career that offers flexible hours, interesting work, and decent pay, but the freelancer will need to be able to market himself exceptionally well in order to get more clients. There may also be dry spells in which little or no work is available, which means life as a freelance writer can be somewhat stressful. Such writers must also provide their own health benefits in some countries, as well as other benefits such as retirement savings. All taxes, business licenses, and other paperwork will fall on the shoulders of the writer rather than an employer.

Of course, a technical writing major can be the perfect fit for candidates who have an exceptional handle on the written language as well as a keen eye for detail in editing and revising. It is also often possible to work one's way up the career ladder fairly quickly, as writers are likely to glean significant information from various documents and writing projects. This means they will become something of an expert in a particular field.

Many college programs will encourage students to develop expertise in other areas besides writing. This will make the technical writer a more valuable job candidate in a particular field. A technical writer who gains expertise in the automotive field, for example, will become a more valuable job candidate to an automobile manufacturer.

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