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Wage Watchers : How much does a Senior Technical Writer earn?

12:30 18/04/2014
Hilde Van Goethem, 35, from Edegem, talks about what she earns and how she spends it.

What do you do?
I work for Vision, a creative and dynamic team that is active in the fields of communication, e-learning and company documentation. I am currently working as Senior Technical Writer on a long-term project for a client on site with a few other colleagues. The project consists mostly in preparing instructions and reports involved in the production of pharmaceutical products.

The documents that we prepare involve technical and precise descriptions that guide an individual towards the correct execution of a task. Given the often complex and technical character of the tasks, a lot of side-preparation (over processes, systems, job profiles, etc.) must occur even before we start preparing such a document. This is because each document that we write concerns a specific work profile.


Do you enjoy the work?
I really enjoy the work. Each new project demands that we digest a lot of knowledge in a short period of time and then are able to re-present using clear and understandable wording. The job involves a lot of research and putting together puzzles of information geared towards different users; basically, there is never a dull moment. And it’s so rewarding at the end of a project when all the data comes together just right and are serve the end-user correctly.

This job also puts in contact with some of the most fascinating people, who then share their knowledge and competences with you. The real cherry on top for me is when, every once in a while, you’ll get someone who tells you that they could better understand and execute their work thanks to your writing. Yet in many cases, the text is so successful justifiably because that individual took all the time and energy to share his or her knowledge with you.


Has the financial crisis made things difficult for your business?
Up until last year, freelancing was my full-time job. The economic crisis had a major influence on my income as a freelancer. The average price for services provided was not evolving due to the growing costs in our company. Also, running projects were sometimes putting on hold by clients who were trying to be cautious with their spending. As a freelancer, all project issues and decisions have an effect on your salary. I decided therefore to change my status last year from freelancer to a set company worker with a contract. As such I can count on a stable monthly income as well as all social security benefits.


Is there a hard learning curve involved with the work?
In the beginning you gain a lot of knowledge about business procedures and sectors. Some technical writers get so up close and personal with what they’re writing about that they end up being real knowledge experts in a certain domain.  In those cases, the writer often drifts further and further away from his original writing function and more towards other functions in that domain.

On the other hand, work can vary as a technical writer; it does not only concern the writing of instructions or knowledge reports, but also can involve communication, training and quality control writing.


How many hours do you work per week?
As a consultant working on site, my work hours are adapted to those of the client. Currently, that means 40 hours a week, which is 2 hours a week more than my signed contract. I therefore have the right to 12 extra days holiday (in addition to the 20 days holiday in my contract) each year, for the supplementary hours worked. As for the ride to work, that works out rather well: a 20-minute commute to work without traffic, 30-40 minutes with.


What does most of your earning go towards?
Towards my monthly rent.


What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would invest in things that would increase the quality of living for my kid, myself and all other people that lie near and dear to my heart. 


Written by The Bulletin



So how much does a senior technical writer actually earn?

Apr 24, 2014 17:30

I was wondering the same thing - the headline for the article is misleading!

Apr 26, 2014 10:18

She hasn't answered the question in the headline! Methinks it's because she earns so much she is embarrassed to say so.

May 8, 2014 16:01