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Move to a tech hub city to find a job in technical writing (TW Job)

Series: How to get a job in technical writing

by Tom Johnson on Dec 24, 2009
categories: beginners

If you're a student, you're probably young. You're almost out of college. Where are you going to live? If you want a job in technical writing, you probably need to live in a major city. Most technical writing jobs are located in places where there are IT companies. The more IT companies, the more technical writing jobs. shows you trends for IT jobs by location.

Locations where the most IT jobs are posted
Locations where the most IT jobs are posted

It's no secret here. The top locations are New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, and Los Angeles -- all major cities.

Last year, Doug Davis wrote an article about where the most technical writing jobs are. He identifies a similar list of cities:

San Jose, California ( Silicon Valley)
Boston, Massachusetts
Seattle, Washington
Washington, D.C.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Chicago, Illinois
Atlanta, Georgia
Denver, Colorado
New York, New York
Houston, Texas
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon
Los Angeles/Anaheim, California
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Research Triangle)

The most recent STC Salary survey database (from 2008) maps a geographic distribution of technical writers and finds the following:

The states with the most technical writers are California, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan and Maryland. Only Wyoming seems to have not reported technical writers.

Where the technical writing jobs are in the U.S.
Where the technical writing jobs are in the U.S.

According to U.S. News, the 10 best places for tech jobs are Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Huntsville Alabama, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

I recommend moving to a major city that appeals to you. If you're really adventurous, you could even move to India. But seriously, location matters. I know that I'll never live in a rural area such as Wyoming because there aren't many technical writing jobs there, as beautiful as Wyoming is.

Moving to a new location, however, is harder than it looks. Rarely will a company hire you from afar. When I was living in Florida looking for a job in Utah, the remote location turned recruiters and employers off immediately. Fortunately my wife's family is in Utah, so while I was vacationing in Utah, I interviewed for a handful of positions here. Then it wasn't such a problem that I was currently residing in Florida, and a good company eventually offered me a job.

Note: If you think moving to a new city is difficult fresh out of college, try uprooting yourself with three kids and a mortgage payment on a house in a recessed economy. Also, forget about landing that contract position in another state and working remotely from home – it just doesn't happen with entry-level writers.

However you manage to do it, go where the jobs are.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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