Career as a Technical Writer


Summary

A Technical Writer is someone who transforms complex and technically difficult written material into clear and concise documentation that will be read by target audiences. They gather and develop technical information in order to create maintenance and operating instructions, technical and instructional manuals, journal articles, and other documentation for manufacturers, designers, and clients.

In smaller companies, tech writers may also perform editing, Web design and document publishing duties. Technical writers are often employed by defense contractors, software developers, scientific research organizations and government agencies. They may work as full-time employees, assigned to a particular department or as part-time independent contractors hired for a specific project. When given an assignment, the technical writer must first analyze the target audience in order to define what they will require. The sound or feel of a document is governed by the targeted audience and the document type. Accurate audience analysis will shape what the document's presentation, design, and content will be like, and define whether the communication will be lighthearted, humorous, formal, or professional.

Analyzing the target audience will also help to define the tone and knowledge level of the document, and tailor it specifically. For example, software documentation tends to be very clear and simple, so that inexperienced users can easily follow it, whereas medical procedures used by physicians may be less simplified, because it assumes that the reader already has knowledge in the field. Another component of technical writing is document design. The technical writer will look at how to use images/, lists, charts, and headings in order to increase usability. They will put emphasis on important sections, such as 'useful tips', or 'warning' sections, by using various colours, bolding, type sizes, and fonts.

Work Environment

Technical Writers work for a variety of industries, such as engineering, the sciences, medicine, and technology. Technical writing follows a development lifecycle that often parallels the product development lifecycle of an organization, and a technical writer often works as part of a writing or project development team. Technical writers also work together with document specialists, editors, content managers, instructional designers, graphic designers and illustrators, and analysts to produce deliverables.

Entry Level Education

A Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, English, or Communications is preferred . Many technical writing jobs require both a Degree and knowledge in a specialized field, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation.

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