How To Become A Technical Writer & Earn Six Figures In The Next 12 Months

I have been a technical writer for over 5 years and am currently making six figures annually doing it. I started as a freelancer and built my own business, which has allowed me to work from home and make my schedule. In this post, I’ll share how you can join the tech industry as well and become a highly paid technical writer in less than one year. Here’s how:

How to Become a Great Technical Writer – YouTube
1. Strategic planning can lead to high earnings.
2. Developing technical skills is essential.
3. Networking and building a portfolio are key.
4. Target industries with high demand for writers.
5. Continuously improve and adapt for success.

The Early Years

Before you become a technical writer, there are some things you should know. First and foremost, what were your hobbies? What did you love to do as a child? Were you an artist? Did growing up on the farm inspire a love of all things agriculture in your life?

There’s no wrong answer here we need to understand where our passions came from because it gives us insight into what we might like to write about later in life (or maybe even now). Even if these interests seem unrelated now, they could easily grow into new career paths down the road.

Effective technical documentation often requires the right set of tools. Discover the tools that can streamline your writing process in our guide on The Tools I Use to Write Technical Documentation.

How I Joined The Tech Industry

You know that feeling when you spend hours working on something, and then it just isn’t what the client expects? There are so many ways to get a project wrong. It could be as simple as not following their specifications closely enough, or it could be that your document was too complex for them to understand, either way, it can lead to stress and frustration.

I try my best to avoid these situations by following these tips:

  • Work with people who appreciate your skills
  • Make sure projects aren’t too big for you
  • Don’t work with clients who don’t respect deadlines

Learning Programming

Learning programming is like learning any other skill: you have to get your hands dirty and do the work. There are many different ways to learn programming that I’ll discuss below, but they all share one goal: getting you to sit down and write code yourself. 

You don’t need a degree in computer science, nor should you expect to be able to build complex applications right away in fact, most of us learn best through failure and iteration.

You might be thinking “I’ve never really been good at math!” or “computer languages seem so confusing!” The truth is that anyone can learn how to program; it just takes some time and effort on your part. Here are some resources for learning how to code from scratch:

Starting a successful writing career takes perseverance and strategic moves. Learn from real experiences in How I Got My Real Estate Writing Career Off the Ground and find inspiration to launch your own journey.

How I Started Writing Code

At this point, you’re probably wondering how I started writing code. Well, the truth is I didn’t start as a programmer!

I started by learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Then I learned how to code by reading books and watching tutorials.

After that, I started building my website using HTML5 and CSS3. The first few months were difficult but once we got through them it was smooth sailing from then on out (I hope!).

At this stage, I knew all about HTML5 but not much about jQuery or JavaScript so it was time for me to start learning those languages too! Once again though this took time because there is just so much content out there so finding what works best for you might take some time depending on where exactly in your journey you are right now but don’t worry!

My First Programming Job

If you’ve been a technical writer for a while, or have some other programming-related experience, likely, you’re already familiar with the basics of finding engineering jobs. But if this is your first time hunting for an engineering position, there are still some things to keep in mind.

Look for opportunities on job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. You can also search on Monster and Dice these sites may not be as well-known as the others but they do offer good opportunities to find freelance work. It’s best not to just rely on one site; use all three to find the best fit for your skill set and interests!

Consider using an “inversion” approach when looking at job postings: instead of searching through large numbers of ads until something sticks out as interesting enough (or even worth applying), 

Try starting by narrowing down the field by paying attention only to those specific positions where someone has already expressed interest in talking with potential candidates like yourself about working together at some point during future discussions about responsibilities related specifically towards doing what it takes before moving forward.

Becoming A Technical Writer & Getting Hired To Write Code

As a technical writer, you need to be able to understand and translate the information your audience needs. You must be able to communicate complex processes in an easy-to-understand manner.

Becoming an expert in code is critical for technical writers as it enables them to communicate with software developers and other professionals who work within the tech industry. 

Code helps technical writers understand how their content will look when it’s implemented by computers or mobile devices, which means they can make sure their writing is clear and concise before it goes live in production environments.

By learning how software developers work on projects, technical writers can make sure they write content that meets deadlines while also providing accurate information on everything from product requirements to the implementation of new features over time. 

In addition, knowing how things work gives them confidence in understanding complex problems so they know what questions need answering first before creating any documentation around these topics – something every company wants!

Understanding the significance of technical writing can lead to better communication. Explore insights on What Technical Writing Is and Why You Should Care to enhance your appreciation for this vital field.

Why You Should Become A Technical Writer

Technical writing is a great career choice for people who are looking to make good money, work from home, and have the flexibility to set their schedules.

If you’re looking to work from home and make six figures in your first year, technical writing might be the perfect job for you. With this career path, you can start making money immediately and build up your client base as quickly as possible. 

You can also choose how much or little time you want to devote to each project you don’t have to commit yourself full-time if all of your other responsibilities take up more than 40 hours per week!

My First Freelance Writing Client (And How I Got Him)

This brings me to my first freelance writing client. I was at a party, talking with a few of my friends who were into tech and software development. We talked about work and one of them suggested that I should be writing technical documentation for their company.

At first, I laughed it off I didn’t think there was any money in technical writing because everyone seemed to be doing it for free online. But then he pointed out that companies will pay for quality content; big players like Microsoft or Google have entire teams of writers creating content for their websites or software manuals.

So after some thought (and research), I decided to give it a try. The client ended up paying me $25 per hour, which is better than minimum wage but not great by any means; however, the experience itself was so fulfilling that I knew this was something I wanted to pursue long-term as a career path.”

What Are The Steps To Becoming A Technical Writer?

what is a technical writer?

A technical writer is someone who creates documents and other materials (blogs, white papers, brochures) to help people learn how to use a product or service. 

They also write documentation that explains how the product works in great detail. This field requires an understanding of how technical products work and how people use them. It’s not enough to just be able to type; you need an in-depth understanding of technology as well as human communication theory.

What Skills Do You Need To Become A Technical Writer?

You need patience and empathy for your audience because it can be frustrating when you’re trying to explain something complex but your reader doesn’t understand what you’re saying—or worse yet, doesn’t care about what you have written! 

You’ll also need excellent writing skills: grammar & spelling should be flawless since nothing will turn off readers faster than mistakes in writing style or content accuracy/relevance issues (eek!). 

Lastly but certainly not least importantly: know thyself; do not attempt this profession unless there’s at least 75% overlap between what interests/excites them personally versus professionally that way they won’t feel like they’ve sold out by going into “boring” work whereas 

If they love both then it becomes less stressful knowing they’re doing something worthwhile instead of just collecting paychecks every month without really feeling any passion toward anything other than maybe having fun outside work hours with friends 🙂

Get Your First Freelance Writing Client

The first thing you need to do is get your first freelance writing client. This can be hard, but it’s not that hard if you have a portfolio of your work (which we will talk about in the next section). You must also be able to deliver on what you promise, and show that you are a good writer.

The easiest way to show off the quality of your work is by having examples right in front of them! For example: If someone asks for a blog post about “how to” write an article like this one (or better), show them some articles that you have written that are similar in style and length. Do they understand what makes these articles successful?

Continuous improvement is key to excelling in technical writing. Uncover valuable tips in 15 Ways to Become a Better Technical Writer that can help you refine your skills and thrive in your writing endeavors.

Start Building Your Countless Skills

It’s time to put some of your knowledge into practice.

Because there are so many different technical writing jobs, you must have a variety of skills. If someone asks you to write an article on how to fix a printer, it might be helpful if you had some experience with printers. 

But if they ask you to write about how their company is leveraging new technology or developing products in the future, then your experience as a printer repair person won’t be nearly as useful. 

Instead, take classes on coding languages like JavaScript or HTML5; learn more about psychology and human behavior; study marketing strategies; improve your copywriting skills by reading marketing books and articles; master graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop…the list goes on!

The more skillsets that you can add to your toolbelt, the easier it will be for clients (and potential employers) to find tasks for which they need help from a technical writer like yourself. And once people see how useful all these things are in combination with each other which is called “cross-training” they might even start paying big bucks for them!

Increase Your Income & Land More Clients By Finding Additional Services To Offer

One of the biggest challenges in a freelancer’s life is finding new clients. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Offer additional services.

Develop a pricing structure for each additional service and include it in your proposal. Be sure to consider the amount of time it will take for you to complete that service, as well as any other costs (such as hiring contractors).

Market yourself heavily by using social media, blogging, and guest posting on industry websites like Freelance Writing Gigs or Simply Hired. You could also partner with other freelancers who offer similar services to cross-promote each other’s products or services; this is sometimes called joint marketing or co-op advertising.

Keep track of all income from these efforts so that you can see how effective they were at attracting new clients!

Stay Safe From Scammers And Bad Clients

As a technical writer, you’ll be working with clients and projects in different industries. You may not always know the people you’re working for, so it’s important to be aware of the red flags that indicate a bad client or project.

A “bad” client does not pay their invoices on time or at all. Sometimes they’ll even try to get away without paying anything at all! All of these are signs of a poor business relationship and should be avoided at all costs!

Some people create fake jobs just to get free samples of your work (the kind of emails where they ask if you could please send them some examples). 

These scammers often ask for specific examples like articles or reports that they can use as templates for their content creation efforts (which will then go into Google searches). They won’t hire anyone after receiving these samples, though; instead, they just keep using them over and over again until someone catches them in the act.

Transitioning your writing expertise to cater to different audiences requires adaptability. Discover effective strategies in How to Transition from Writing for Experts to Writing for Everyone and embrace versatility in your writing career.


I hope that this post has helped show you the ins and outs of becoming a technical writer. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend checking out our other blog posts on the topic or reading up on our course material. 

We have classes for beginners and advanced students alike, so whatever your skill level may be right now there’s something for everyone!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the topics of technical writing, content writing, and earning a living as a writer:

Making Six Figures as a Freelance Technical Writer: A Complete Guide Short Description: Learn comprehensive insights on achieving a high income as a freelance technical writer, with practical tips and guidance.

How to Become a Content Writer: A Comprehensive Guide Short Description: Discover the step-by-step process to become a content writer, including essential skills and career opportunities.

Understanding Technical Writer Salary: What to Expect Short Description: Gain an understanding of the salary landscape for technical writers and factors that influence their earnings.


What skills are essential for a successful technical writing career?

Having strong writing skills, attention to detail, the ability to communicate complex information clearly, and proficiency in using technical tools are crucial for a successful technical writing career.

How can I transition from content writing to technical writing?

Transitioning from content writing to technical writing involves learning to convey technical information accurately and concisely. It’s important to understand the specific audience and industry you’ll be writing for and adapt your style accordingly.

Is freelancing a viable option for technical writers?

Yes, freelancing can be a viable option for technical writers. Many companies require freelance technical writers for various projects, offering flexibility and opportunities to work on diverse subjects.

What factors influence the salary of a technical writer?

Factors such as experience, industry, location, and the complexity of the subject matter can influence a technical writer’s salary. Those with specialized knowledge and the ability to work on complex topics often command higher salaries.

Are there opportunities for career advancement in technical writing?

Yes, technical writing offers opportunities for career advancement. Experienced technical writers can move into roles like senior technical writer, technical editor, content strategist, or even transition to managerial positions within documentation teams.