There are many opportunities for technical writers in Cambridge

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Technical Writing in Cambridge

This article describes technical writing in Cambridge, UK: industries where technical writers are employed in Cambridge and opportunities for technical writers in Cambridge.

Cambridge - a centre of innovation and diversity

Cambridge is a center of business and technological innovation. It has close ties to the university community and has received considerable business investment over the past two decades, including a substantial contribution to its main Science Park from Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft.

Cambridge is well located, with excellent transport links to London, in the south, Birmingham in the west, Peterborough in the north and Ipswich in the east. The rural settings and relatively lower cost of living in Cambridge has attracted many entrepreneurs, businesses and IT staff to this area.

Cambridge city has two major business centers: a science park and a business park, both situated in the north of the city, just off the A14, and employing several thousand workers. In addition, there are dozens of smaller business centers scattered in and around Cambridge. The Cambourne business centre is only 6 miles west of Cambridge, in a new housing development. The Melbourne business park is to the south of Cambridge, near Royston. New business centres have sprung up in the surrounding villages, such as the Vision Park in Histon, and small business parks in Quay and Swaffham Bulbeck, Fordham and Comperton.

The Cambridge science park, where many technical writers are employedWriters are employed in a range of industries
The Cambridge Science Park, where many technical writers are employed

There are a wide range of technology companies in Cambridge and a diversity of businesses. Cambridge has unique strengths in electronics, pharmaceuticals, genetics and chemistry, but many other companies, in banking, finance, telecommunications and software design have headquarters or development branches in Cambridge. Examples of well-known companies with development centres in Cambridge include Silicon Radio, Citrix, Accelrys, Toshiba, Broadcom, QUALCOMM, WorldPay, RedGate, Xaar and GE Energy. All these companies employ technical writers.

Technical writing jobs in Cambridge

The precise number of technical writers in Cambridge is unknown, although there may be as many as 200-300 writers, employed in tasks such as editing, technical writing, marketing writing, copywriting, illustrations, translation, user interface design and other related services. The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) has recently started a local member branch in Cambridge, although numbers are small, as many writers do not currently have affiliation or membership.

Salaries tend to be competitive, but slightly lower than London. For example, the salary range for permanent technical writers is between 22,000- 40,000 per annum; a senior technical writer in Cambridge can expect to received up to 45k. Contract technical writer rates vary around 35-45 per hour. London permanent and contract rates are generally 10% higher. However, the cost of living in Cambridge is lower.

Working in Cambridge

Many technical writers live in Cambridge city. For those living in the city, cycling or walking into work is common. Cambridge has a good cycling infrastructure, with cycling lanes throughout the city, and cycling is part of the ethos and way of life of Cambridge residents. There are plenty of parks and green spaces.

Another reason why many choose to cycle is the narrow roads in Cambridge, which tend to become clogged with traffic at rush hour.

The cost of living has pushed many writers out into the surrounding villages, which are generally cheaper and offer good access to Cambridge. Milton is a relatively new development just north of the A14, within cycling distance of the science park. Histon, Comperton, Cambourne, Sawston, Great Shelford, Waterbeach, Bottisham and Swaffham Prior are some of the other areas where technical writers live. As employees have migrated out to the satellite villages, new businesses parks have sprung up in these areas.

In general, commuting into work is only practical using private transport. The public transport system in and around Cambridge is slow and impractical. A guided bus service connects Cambridge and Huntingdon, to ease some of the traffic problems on the A14. There is currently some talk about introducing congestion charges to Cambridge.

Cambridge has excellent rail links with London, which is only 45 minutes away on the fast train. This has given the opportunity for many writers to commute daily between London and Cambridge. Other writers come into Cambridge from further off, for example Ipswich and Norwich.

Entertainment in and around Cambridge

Pub lunches and evenings out at local restaurants are a favourite past-time. There are plenty of museums, leisure centres, theatres and cinemas in and around Cambridge and a healthy variety of entertainment and activities for all ages. If you fancy a stroll along the river Cambridge, you can watch the ducks and teams of rowers who practice constantly, or stop to talk to the local fishermen and boat owners who line the banks of the river. If you are brave, you can take a punt on the river yourself. The Grafton centre and Lion yard, located in the city centre, are minutes away from the main bus station and a ten-minute walk from the train station.

Cambridge has a rich history and the architecture and museums will have something to interest all tastes. The Botanical gardens and Fitzwilliam museum in the city centre are well worth a visit.

If you fancy a day out from Cambridge, the neighboring towns of Newmarket, Ely, Bury St Edmunds and St. Ives offer plenty of attractions. For example, Ely Cathedral and the Newmarket race course, or the National Trust properties of Anglesey Abbey, Winpole and Wicken Fen.

River Cambridge
View of the river Cambridge

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Technical writing roles in Cambridge

If you are looking for a job as a technical writer in Cambridge, the best place to find advertisements for technical writing permanent and contract positions is on jobserve.com.

You should use the search term 'technical author', or 'technical authors' (as writers in the UK are known) and you can limit this to jobs that are based in Cambridge.

In general, over a 7-day period you are likely to find between 6-10 positions for technical authors in Cambridge, although this tends to fluctuate seasonally, with January and February being the best months to look.

We also occasionally advertise positions for technical authors on our website. See http://www.technical-communicators.com/jobs.

We are happy to review your CV and help you find you a suitable position.

Our competitors Cherry Leaf, 3DI and Wordsworth often advertise positions in and around Cambridge. Their postings are also available on jobserve.com.

If you want exclusive opportunities, we recommend that you join the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC), which regularly posts job opportunities on their mail forum, often only available to members. The membership fee is around 75 per year.

Working in and around Cambridge

To find our more about the business and science parks and view vacancies for technical writers, use the following links:

Business and Technical Writing Services in Cambridge

If you are seeking a technical writer based in Cambridge for your projects or a technical writing company local to Cambridge that can offer copywriting, technical writing and related business services, why not contact us to discuss your requirements?

To find out more about us, you can visit our website at http://www.technical-communicators.com