Everyone knows computer scientists, architects, engineers and systems designers usually fare financially well, but so do those who help those workers explain what their products do and how to use them. Gifted with the ability to break down complex concepts to reach an audience who's not as well-versed in the field, technical writers must have excellent communication skills in addition to a thorough knowledge of the industry they're writing about, says Nicky Bleiel, president of the Society for Technical Communication, or STC.
"Technical communicators are employed by and can be an asset to all kinds of companies, from Fortune 500 companies on down," she says. "It's also a very viable path to starting your own business."
Technical communication degrees offered through schools such as Carnegie Mellon University and Northeastern University require a mix of mathematics, science and communication courses, but certificates and two-year degrees are also available. On top of a degree, you'll also need industry connections, Bleiel says, which you can gain through internships, networking and STC's mentoring program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers rake in a median salary of $65,500, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $100,000.