Exploring an Editing Career

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my career prospects as a university senior of English professional writing. Technical writing, editing, and marketing are the prospects I briefly touched on. This post takes a deeper look into editing as a job prospect for a recent college grad or for anyone with a degree that will qualify them for the profession. Those degrees include English, journalism, communications, and similar degrees.

Although the profession of editing (proofreading, copywriting, formatting, etc., of written works), is not in a state of growth, I’m not deterred by that. Traditional editing, which was my first understanding of the profession, is based in traditional content publishing outlets: books, magazines, newspapers, and the like.

job-outlooks-for-professional-writing_editior_editing_post-graduation

bls.gov

Editors are still alive and well in these sectors; however, these traditional industries are undergoing intense disruption by new and emerging technologies. Power is shifting away from the once firm, exclusive grip of corporation-like, traditional publishing houses and is spreading across smaller emerging businesses and individuals. Having been replaced by tech twice in my still-young life, I now do my best to seek work with some promise of future relevance. Thus, the form of editing I will focus on throughout this post is web content editing — time for some definitions. . .

bp4 img

Career sectors for Editors courtesy – bls.gov

Generic editing job description:

“Editors plan, coordinate, and revise material for publication in books, newspapers, magazines, or websites. Editors review story ideas and decide what material will appeal most to readers. During the review process, editors offer comments to improve the product, and suggest titles and headlines” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).

Web content editing:

“Web content editors are responsible for planning, creating, editing and publishing information on websites. They work in company communication departments or external organizations, such as web design agencies, IT consultancies and media companies. Content editors may produce material for publication on websites on companies’ internal intranets or on the public Internet” (Chron.com, 2019).

Web content editing is a division of editing, just as copy editing is. Regardless of the slight distinction of “web” content editing versus plain “editing,” written works are still proofread, revised, formatted, and undergo the same inspecting rigors beneath the eyes of an editor. Editors The true distinction lay in the publishing landscape: an encompassed, printed work versus a dynamic web environment. Affording that the internet will remain alive and well, web content development, design, and creativity will remain relevant far into the foreseeable future.

Back in 2011, I started a freelance web design company and worked with numerous individuals and small businesses. A few years later, I revamped and employed new content strategies and payment for a photo booth company’s website. My work resulted increased sales for the business, from a referral-based sales to primarily new-customer- based sales — referrals were a reliable fall-back. I wouldn’t mind dusting off my web design and online content development skills and combining it with my English education for a position as a web content editor. Let’s look at entry-level requirements and other features of this profession —

Content Editor Job Requirements

Technically, a degree is not necessary for one to become a web content editor. But, this shouldn’t be news to anyone. We all know anybody can create a website and throw content on it. However, if one has the desire to know what they are doing and get paid relatively well, a Bachelor’s degree is generally required in the workforce. This can be a degree in English, journalism, communications, and the like.

payscale dot com web content editor required years of experience

Web Content Editors – PayScale.com

The above image from PayScale.com reflects the average years of experience of web content editors in the U.S. The 1-4 years of experience being the highest percentage of for the profession is excellent for my current level of experience in web content editing. This stat is also excellent for anyone considering entering the field as a career change or as a recent grad. A year of college projects with a completed portfolio might be enough to qualify as a year of experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website also reflects this low experience requirement, with “[l]ess than 5 years,” written required work experience to enter the position. BLS.gov also has “None” listed for on-the-job training. This can be good or bad, depending on how well a prospective web content editor knows their stuff.

Salary

Editors to not get paid a lot, but they are paid fairly well. — Better than teacher, the profession most people think English majors got to college for. Pay varies from around $30k-$70k per year, according to PayScale.com.

Demographics

Unlike when I was a web designer, gender ratio in web content editing is more female than male. Besides the graphic that reflects this gender ration and the following image of experience level, I did not find any major demographic information.

payscale dot com gender demo

PayScale.com

Future Projections

The research I undertook to write this post has made me more comfortable with keeping editing on my list of post-graduation career prospects. Whereas, in my previous career prospects post, editing was almost last in line on my list. The above briefly touched on findings of my research into editing as a career as made me more secure in my choice to major in English and of my history of creating website content. I hope the above information is useful to anyone considering editing as a career prospect.

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