In this article, we will explore the technical writer job description, qualifications, working hours, and what the job market for technical writing is like. You’ll also read details about the day-to-day experience, necessary prerequisites, and possible career paths.
A technical writer handles writing and editing technical documents for businesses, both for internal and external use. These may include manuals, protocols, project descriptions, whitepapers, or anything else that the business uses. Their job is to make these documents as clear as possible and tailor them to the appropriate audience.
Job Overview: What Does A Technical Writer Do?
A technical writer is responsible for aiding communication both within a company and between the company and external stakeholders. As such, they need to know technical language and have the ability to adapt text to any of several different audiences, such as members of other teams, members of other departments, managers, and customers.
They tend to work regular hours and do not have any particularly relevant certifications. Technical writers often work on a contractor basis, which makes it hard to project a specific salary for them; they tend to be attached to particular projects.
Technical Writer Job Duties
- Create clear, organized external and internal documents for stakeholders.
- Develop standards and protocols with team members for project documentation.
- Maintain stylistic, notational, and organizational standards to unify communications.
- Develop user-facing tutorials and documentation to improve the customer experience.
- Edit existing content to conform to relevant standards and maximize clarity.
- Plan future content in collaboration with management to maintain consistency and high-quality for future documentation.
Technical Writer Job Essential Skills
Writing. Advanced writing ability is a core competency for technical writers. This includes much more than just understanding language and grammar. It entails knowing how to use documentation to convey complex concepts with clarity and ease to specific audiences. Their primary language may not be English, or they may be unfamiliar with key background concepts or short on time. A technical writer has to know precisely what his or her readers need and what background they have.
Collaboration. It’s just as essential for a technical writer to work well with others. As a writer, they must facilitate communication between many different parties, so they must be on good working terms with all of them and be able to keep up with the technical details involved.
Becoming a Technical Writer
The technical writer job description often includes formal writing training and experience. They build their expertise through projects, which gives them experience and increases their familiarity with a field’s specific needs.
Qualifications and Training
Technical writing in colleges and universities generally does not have its own major, minor, or specialty, and often isn’t taught as a stand-alone course. However, critical skills come from writing classes, even creative writing ones. This coursework frequently educates students in copying different writing styles and writing in a variety of genres and for a variety of audiences. Business classes introduce students to the core roles and tasks of business teams and the organizational models that dictate lines of communication.
After college, the best way for technical writers to improve their craft is to work. There is little in the way of certifications or licensing in technical writing, so building a resume of successful projects and tasks is the most productive and enriching growth path. Technical writers can use both a portfolio of work examples and recommendations to support their resume.
Getting an internship in technical writing may not be easy, because it isn’t a field with a strong internship culture. It is more common to start work in the field after graduating. A business internship can, however, provide useful connections and an immersive experience in a work group.
Not all jobs will be open to new graduates, but some companies are interested in hiring young people. It only takes one offer to start a first job, which will lead to a career, but it can certainly be a barrier to land the initial hire.
In general, the working hours for a technical writer are typical. However, they can vary considerably depending on the company. For example, some employers are multinational and might require unusual hours to collaborate with international teams. Some might have a culture of working late or answering emails from home, but others could expect the staff to be done at 5 p.m. In general, the technical writer shares the hours of the teams and work groups that they collaborate with most often.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Technical writing is usually not in its own hierarchy. Technical writers generally report to managers and team leaders, not necessarily senior technical writers. That means the opportunity for advancement within technical writing comes in terms of finding better jobs and projects to work on, rather than changing roles or responsibilities.
In terms of other paths, one natural step for a technical writer is to attempt project management. Technical writing experience already provides significant insight into the management and organization of work groups and projects, as well as a sense of the challenges that come with getting buy-in, facilitating collaboration, and other problems project managers face.
The experience of technical writing involves close contact with other roles and positions in a way that opens up opportunities. A technical writer who has built up a good reputation and sees an interesting project can ask about contributing to it to see where it goes. Technical writer is a fluid position that rewards soft skills and interpersonal prowess.
The technical writer job description talks about a unique career that combines advanced communications and detailed knowledge. Technical writers function as key disseminators of information and channels of cooperation, with opportunities to take on contact work, become hired on a permanent basis, rotate among various interesting projects, or strike off into a related business field like project management.