Technical Writer Salaries in 2023: What to Expect

Posted by
Elmira in TechComm Career Path on 8/23/20236 min read

technical writers making money

Technical writing is a profession that has recently entered the vocabularies of head hunting and recruiting agencies all over the world. It is quite popular, and its future prospects are associated with the development of such technologies like AI, VR/AR, IoT, and big data.

Tech writers shape the way users interact with technical content. The greater the number of IT products users, the broader the scope of technical writers’ activities. The array of career options in this field is expanding, and this article will outline these opportunities to help you determine if this field aligns with your interests.

Demand for Technical Writers

A technical writer can have various job titles depending on the company, its culture, and policies. The position might be known as a technical content developer, a technical communicator, or a knowledge manager. Regardless of the title, the demand for tech writing specialists is rapidly increasing.

The main reason why the demand for technical writers is growing is that the profession is closely connected with the field of IT which is expanding and requires more and more specialists to document processes. Putting it differently, the IT industry requires more personnel capable of creating software manuals, instructional materials, and other forms of technical documentation. However, this demand is not limited by the IT field. Technical writers work in a wide range of areas, such as science, finance, engineering, aerospace, defense, biotechnology, and more.

The most popular and highly paid branch of tech writing is API documentation writing. API documentation writers assist developers in creating APIs (application programming interface) and guide users on how to interact with the software.

In this case, tech writing becomes more enriched with IT knowledge. A technical writer must be able to understand the source code and speak ‘the same language’ with programmers in order to lead the users through all innovations and releases of the product. Such writers should possess industry-specific knowledge, i.e. a background in computer science and at least a beginner level understanding of programming languages, such as C++, Java, and PHP.

Factors Influencing Salaries

The salary of technical writers can be influenced by multiple factors, some of which can be considered subjective. They include the applicant’s experience in both writing and IT, as well as their preference for office-based work or freelancing.

For example, if the experience of the applicant is limited, a company may offer a lower salary compared to someone with more extensive work experience. This holds true for freelancing opportunities as well. Freelancers are often perceived as more flexible and mobile, which might result in employers being somewhat about their reliability. Consequently, ‘in-house’ employees are offered higher salaries than freelancers.

Objective factors can include the following considerations:

  • Job role and importance of technical writing. For example, if a product undergoes infrequent updates, there might not be necessity for an extensive team of technical writers within the company staff.
  • Involvement with API software. If the company has to deal with API software, the creation and upkeep of API documentation becomes imperative.
  • Industry segment. The demand for tech writers can vary depending on the company's industry focus. A company in the engineering and design sector might require fewer tech writers compared to one heavily involved in API software.
  • Company size. Smaller companies often seek ways to economize, potentially affecting areas like technical writing.

Considering all these factors, the salary trends for the profession in 2023 appear highly promising. As per Glassdoor infographics, the salary trends within the tech writing field for 2023 are outlined as follows:

how much does a technical writer make

The average technical writer salary falls within the dark blue section and amounts to $76,068 per year. However, as indicated in the diagram, this figure can nearly double based on individual terms and conditions, reaching up to $133,000. Glassdoor further provides insights into prospective pay based on career progression. For instance, if an individual advances from a junior to senior and eventually to lead technical writer, the projected pay could potentially reach $142,140 per year.

Salaries by Industry

The profession spans across numerous industries, displaying variations from one field to another. In general, these industries encompass academia, information technology, manufacturing, the medical sector, and more. Some of the most popular sectors that benefit from the skills of a technical writer are outlined below.

Information technologies. This entails both hardware and software technical writing. The latter can encompass writing related to web applications or social media. According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a technical writer in the IT field is $81,333 per year in the United States, with an average salary of $72,811 per year.

Health care. This includes mostly writing documentation for medical hardware and software developers. The estimated total pay for a technical writer in the field of healthcare is $75,886 per year in the US, with an average salary of $70,073 per year.

Education. A technical writer can support the development of learning and teaching software, like course materials for trainers. The estimated total pay here is about $10,000 lower and is $64,922 per year in the US, with an average making $59,564 per year.

Financial services. Technical writers find opportunities in finance-related companies that offer some of the most attractive salaries in the profession. The estimated total pay here will be $112,937 per year, with an average salary of $99,398 per year.

Government and public administration. Technical writers are also sought after in government sectors, where they may work as policy analysts or in defense-related roles. The estimated total pay for a technical writer in this field is $85,987 per year, with an average salary of $76,039 per year.

This list is constantly growing, with new areas such as defense, aerospace, biotechnology, insurance, mining, energy, and more being added recently.

Geographic Salary Variations

Location plays an important role in salary distribution, with different regions offering varying job opportunities and compensation levels.

According to Glassdoor, taking into account all the geographic salary variations, one of the top locations for technical writers is the USA with Apple, for example, offering a pay of $155,164 per year. In Europe, exemplified by Germany, the estimated total pay for a Technical Writer is €60,803 per year, with an average salary of €57,373 per year.

According to TechPays, statistics for the Netherlands, the most technologically advanced EU country, appear as follows:

salary for techwriter in netherlands

The screenshot above illustrates that the majority of companies provide relocation compensations and bonuses. This signifies that companies are actively seeking technical writing specialists, which is advantageous for applicants who can select the most favorable terms and conditions.

Freelance Opportunities

As you can see from the TechPays infographics above, some companies practice remote and hybrid work opportunities. This is probably one of the latest trends that have appeared due to COVID-19. do not equate to traditional freelancing; however, they offer employees greater flexibility.

The term 'freelancing' is progressively becoming less applicable as employers and employees have forged a middle ground through remote work or teleworking. At present, only a very small percentage of tech writers work as freelancers. Nevertheless, certain freelance opportunities for technical writers are still preserved in some companies.

Career Growth and Development

Numerous career paths await technical writers. While there's no one-size-fits-all formula, a common trajectory is from tech writer to senior tech writer, culminating in the role of lead tech writer or tech writing manager. Alternatively, one may embark as a freelancer, gradually progressing to become a lead technical writer and even establishing an agency.

A trend also exists where copywriters transition to technical writing after gaining relevant technical expertise in fields like IT, engineering, medicine, and more. Conversely, tech writers sometimes transition to roles in IT, project management, marketing, or attain executive-level positions.

In certain companies, the option to advance from technical writer to senior technical writer exists, while others may not provide clear advancement opportunities. In such cases, a writer might pivot from writing to specialized roles such as analyst, editor, tester, or trainer.

abstract streams of tech writers searching for job


If you're aiming for a well-paid position in a high-tech company, technical writing should undoubtedly catch your interest. Engaging in this field promises self-improvement, career advancement, and personal growth. Moreover, it serves as an ideal avenue for individuals seeking to blend their writing and editing skills with the application of technical knowledge.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices


Give it a Try!

Sign up for a 14-day free trial!
Start Free Trial
Post Categories
Want to become a better professional?
Get monthly digest on technical writing, UX and web design, overviews of useful free resources and much more.

Mind if we email you once a month?

Professionals never stop learning. Join thousands of experts subscribed to our blog to get tips, ideas and stories from us once per month.
Learn more on ClickHelp
By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Learn more