In order to ensure that any complex information is understood easily, a tech writer will be required. It is vital that instructions are clear and especially when they are related to a difficult to understand subject or concept. The job of a tech writer is to create how-to guides, journal articles, product manuals, and help sections on a website, as well as other technical content, similar to professional writing services so that it reads clearly and easily. Usually, a tech writer has experience in the subject that they are writing about. This could be medicine, manufacturing, software, engineering, science e.t.c.
Becoming a technical writer
Usually, a technical writer would require a degree. It is better if this degree is in a technical subject such as engineering or science.
- Work experience. Some technical writers may begin their writing careers as research assistants or specialists in their field. This gives them the experience of being able to enhance their technical communication skills.
- Education. Quite often, employers prefer technical writers who have a bachelor’s degree in communications subjects such as English. However, technical writers could also have a degree in a technical field.
Below is a list of some qualities that would benefit a technical writer:
- To have excellent writing skills
A technical writer will need to have excellent writing skills in order to be able to explain technical information in an easy-to-understand and clear way.
- To be able to research
One of the first steps that you will undertake as a technical writer is some research. Once you have been given an assignment you need to be able to collect relevant data and turn this into information. After you have completed your research, you will then start to plan how you will organize your document.
- To be able to think critically
A technical writer needs to be able to simplify difficult to understand information so that anyone from any background can understand it.
- To have an eye for detail
As technical writers often need to create instructions that can be followed by anybody, they need to be detail-oriented to achieve this.
- To be able to work as part of a team
A technical writer will often work with others such as illustrators, editors, designers, and other writers and for this reason, they need to be able to work well as part of a team.
- To understand your audience
The information that you have gathered needs to be modified so that your reader can understand it which means you need to have. This means one of your first steps before you write anything is to analyze your audience so that you can make your information understandable.
- To have a good imagination
A technical writer needs to be able to think of a product in a way that someone who has no knowledge of it.
- To have technical skills
A technical writer needs to understand technical information and for this reason, it’s beneficial if they have a background related to medicine, science, or engineering.
- Good communication skills
As we have mentioned, it is likely that you will work as part of a team and therefore you will need to have good communication skills. It’s important that you can not only communicate but also record and listen to others.
The work environment
Quite often, tech writers work full time and are usually employed by a company that uses their services. Alternatively, some tech writers are paid for each assignment they complete, and some freelance on a self-employed basis. A tech writer may need to work evenings and weekends in order to hit specific deadlines.
The benefits of being a tech writer
Along with technical writing skills you need to upgrade using some methods, there are many benefits of being a tech writer, we will highlight some of these below:
- There will always be a demand for tech writers
Devices and electronics and now a part of our everyday life, and we all use them. As technology continues to develop at a rapid rate, businesses will require technical writers who can create user guides, instructions, and manuals that are easy to use and understand by everybody.
- You learn new things all the time
A tech writer will work with new technology all the time and therefore learn lots of new information.
- You will help others
As a technical writer, you will provide instructions and manuals, etc so that everyone can understand.
The myths related to technical writing
There are many misconceptions related to technical writing. Below we will highlight some of these:
- You need a bachelor’s degree to be a technical writer
You don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to be a technical writer. However, you will need to have some kind of training to become a successful technical writer. Obviously, if you do have a degree, then this will not harm your career.
- Technical writers only write about medical, technological, scientific, or highly technical subjects
This is incorrect as technical writing relates to making factual information accessible and understandable to a specific audience.
- A technical writer is not paid well
This is also incorrect as once you have gained experience as a technical writer you can command a six-figure salary. This compares to the salary of an editor or a journalist.
- Technical writing doesn’t require creativity and exploring
Don’t think that technical writing is boring as most subjects can relate to technical writing. In regard to creativity, a technical writer may need to create illustrations, graphs, charts, or reports.