What is Technical Writer? Required Skills & Duties
The professional world has dramatically evolved in recent years. An important implication of the rapid stride in technology has lead to the emergence of demand for technical writers. In other words, technical writers do technical writing.
According to a well-known definition of technical writing, “Technical writing is a writing that helps users solve problems with technologies and technical subject matter.” A technical writer in effect fulfills the needs of technological communication.
In other words, a technical writer must not only be proficient in writing skills but should also have a fair grasp over technologies they are writing about. In other words, they
should be able to communicate technical information in an easy to understand language for diverse audiences.
The scope of Technical Writing
According to Warren Clendening, an expert in the field of technical writing, “technical writing is an exciting area in the field of communication that offers diverse and challenging opportunities to make a real difference in people’s lives. Technical writing is about communicating technical things to people who may or may not be technically inclined.”
It is significant to note that at one time or other, we all need the services of technical writers because technology is everywhere in our lives.
Some of the industries technical writers work include hardware and software, chemistry, robotics, earth space, consumer electronics, finance, and biotechnology among several more.
There are different types of technical writing.
While some technical writers could be writing software documentation, others could be focusing on scientific writing. The other types of technical writing include medical writing, grant writing, policies and procedures (HR) writing for companies. The technical writers also work in engineering, legal, scientific and medical fields.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is projected to grow 10% faster than normal, while the job in 2015 attracted a median salary of over $70,000. The technical writers should have a minimum bachelor’s in English or related discipline and clear and effective writing skills.
Skills Required of a Technical Writer
A technical writer should be willing to learn science and technology related information and apply their learning in the writing. They need to be disciplined in their professional life. Their tasks may include writing technical papers, manuals, white papers, and teaching material. They need to constantly upgrade their skills because technology itself keeps upgrading.
A technical writer while writing must keep into sharp focus the audience they are writing for. They must be able to effectively communicate with their audience. According to Nicky Bliel, “Good technical writing makes the complex simple and the customer successful.”
What the Technical Writers Deliver?
Technical writers deliver a variety of materials on the web, e-readers, books, and mobile devices. However, not every project requires a deliverable.
Some of the deliverables from technical writers include manuals in PDF or EPUB format, online support and help, quick reference materials, training materials, learning materials, and tutorials, software documentation or release notes, podcasts, videos, reference documentation, installation guides, and troubleshooting guides.
Along with the deliverables, the technical writers need to ensure that their contents are translated for the specific geographies of their audience. In addition, their deliverable should be easily accessible and comply with the standards and regulations. The standards include the international standards style guide and the industry standards such as FDA/HIPAA, ISO, and Sarbanes-Oxley.