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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Writers in San Jose, California

If you want to be a technical writer, the San Jose, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 7,200 people are currently employed as technical writers in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 19% to 8,600 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for technical writers are expected to grow by about 18.2%. Technical writers generally write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions.

Technical writers earn approximately $36 hourly or $75,680 per year on average in California. Nationally they average about $29 per hour or $61,620 yearly. Earnings for technical writers are better than earnings in the general category of Writing and Editing in California and better than general Writing and Editing category earnings nationally. Technical writers work in a variety of jobs, including: technical publications writer, instructional designer, and electronic publisher.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of San Jose where you can study to be a technical writer, among fifty-nine schools of higher education total in the San Jose area. Given that the most common education level for technical writers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a technical writer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Technical Writer

Technical Writer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, technical writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. They also may assist in layout work.

Technical writers organize material and complete writing assignments in line with set standards. They also maintain records and files of work and revisions. Equally important, technical writers have to edit or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel. They are often called upon to inspect published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope and methods of reproduction and binding. They are expected to decide on photographs and charts to illustrate material. Finally, technical writers help in laying out material for publication.

Every day, technical writers are expected to be able to write clearly and communicate well. They need to read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for technical writers to interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods. They are often called upon to analyze developments in specific field to establish need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material. They also talk with customer representatives or publisher to determine technical specifications and to establish subject material to be developed for publication. They are sometimes expected to observe production and experimental efforts to establish operating procedure and detail. Somewhat less frequently, technical writers are also expected to draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence.

Technical writers sometimes are asked to draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence. And finally, they sometimes have to observe production and experimental efforts to establish operating procedure and detail.

Like many other jobs, technical writers must believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Jose include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Copy Writer. Write advertising copy for use by publication or broadcast media to promote sale of goods and services.
  • Editorial Specialist. Perform variety of editorial duties, such as laying out, indexing, and revising content of written materials, in preparation for final publication.
  • News Analyst. Analyze, interpret, and broadcast news received from various sources.
  • Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
  • Radio and Television Announcer. Talk on radio or television. May interview guests, act as master of ceremonies, read news flashes, identify station by giving call letters, or announce song title and artist.
  • Reporter. Collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation. Report and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, or television.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Technical Writer Training

San Jose State University - San Jose, CA

San Jose State University, 1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192-0001. San Jose State University is a large university located in San Jose, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 32,749 students and an admission rate of 64%. San Jose State University has a master's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

California State University-East Bay - Hayward, CA

California State University-East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542. California State University-East Bay is a large university located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,353 students and an admission rate of 71%. California State University-East Bay has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated seventy-one students in 2008.

Holy Names University - Oakland, CA

Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619-1699. Holy Names University is a small university located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,103 students and an admission rate of 74%. Holy Names University has 2 areas of study related to Technical Writer. They are:

  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Business/Corporate Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.

Mission College - Santa Clara, CA

Mission College, 3000 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054-1897. Mission College is a large college located in Santa Clara, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,154 students. Mission College has a two to four year program in Technical and Business Writing.

Santa Clara University - Santa Clara, CA

Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053. Santa Clara University is a medium sized university located in Santa Clara, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,987 students and an admission rate of 61%. Santa Clara University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated three students in 2008.

De Anza College - Cupertino, CA

De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014. De Anza College is a large college located in Cupertino, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. De Anza College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Technical and Business Writing which graduated eight, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Notre Dame de Namur University - Belmont, CA

Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave, Belmont, CA 94002-1908. Notre Dame de Namur University is a small university located in Belmont, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,478 students and an admission rate of 97%. Notre Dame de Namur University has a bachelor's degree program in Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Technical Trainer: CompTIA CTT+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation in both a classroom and virtual classroom environment.

For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Jose, California

San Jose, California
San Jose, California photo by Leslie

San Jose is situated in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 948,279, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Jose, 163, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Jose are priced at $163,800 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred fourteen new homes were built in San Jose, down from three hundred twenty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Jose are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 31.6% of San Jose residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Jose is 13.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Jose residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Almaden Hill United Methodist Church, Almaden Valley United Methodist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in San Jose. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

San Jose is home to the Evergreen Ranch and the Rosegarden Branch San Jose Public Library as well as Almaden Winery Park and Albertson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Almaden Plaza Shopping Center, Almaden Via Valiente Plaza Shopping Center and Foxworthy Shopping Center. Visitors to San Jose can choose from Atrium Gardens, Best Western Airport Plaza and Best Western Inn Airport Plaza for temporary stays in the area.