Technical writers are a combination of journalists and technicians who write documentation for technology products, services and concepts. The documents they produce vary from instruction manuals to white papers to websites to any other support documents that aid users to understanding how to use technology. Technical Writers take technical concepts and make them easy to understand for end users and produce documentation best suited to the product or service’s target market. The need for technical writers has become more and more important as the world uses more technology in their everyday lives.
On average, a full-time Technical Writer earns between $38,700 and $65,500 annually.
Average Starting Salary:
The average starting salary for Technical Writers is approximately $35,000 annually.
- Determine end users’ documentation needs
- Talk with Product Developers and Designers to understand how products are used
- Work with technical staff to make products easier to use for end users and require less documentation
- Organize and write documentation for products
- Create graphics. diagrams animations and charts to improve user’s comprehension
- Select the proper medium to reach the target audience
- Develop content standards across platforms
- Gather feedback from customers, manufactures and designers
- Revise documents as new issues and needs arise
- Communication Skills
- Writing Skills
- Detail Oriented
- Inter-personal Skills
- Technically Savvy
- Team work
- Writing Skill
Degree and Experience Requirements:
In general, Technical Writers need a degree in English, Journalism, Communications or another related writing field. Employers also often require a technical writer to have expertise in a specific field such as Computer Science or Engineering. Web design skills are also beneficial to Technical Writers due to the rise of the web documentation. The same could be said for video production skills since video documentation has increased exponentially since the cost of producing and distributing video has dropped significantly.
There are industry-specific certifications Technical Writer can earn from professional organizations. These are organization are those such as the American Medical Writers Association for the medical writing field. While these certifications aren’t mandatory, they can help a candidate advance and can also lead to further advancement opportunities.
One can get a start as an intern while they are still a student, with a company that employes technical writers. There is also a great demand for self-employed technical writers who are hired by companies on a project-by-project basis on a freelance basis. Working freelance is a great way for a recent graduate to gain experience and professional work which could lead to full-time opportunities.
The demand for Technical Writers is expected to grow about 15% over the next ten years. This growth is greatly attributed to the growth of technology and scientific products and services as well as web services. As technology advances and people become more dependent on it in their daily lives, there will be an increasing need for skilled individuals to write documentation. Growth should continue far into the future and should be a great source of new jobs in an increasing number of industries.
Companies That Employ Technical Writers:
- Professional Services
- Scientific Companies
- Technical Services
- Manufacturing Companies
- Information Companies
- Company Administration/Management
- Waste Management and Remediation
Traits of A Good Technical Writers:
- Strong Writer
- Eye for design
- Quick Thinking
About the Author
Mike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, Gdovin.net. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.