Technical writers are highly skilled professionals who combine their talent for the written word along with a thorough understanding of technological products, to help the consumer. They are responsible for instruction manuals which are included with your new washing machine or laptop, and even the stepwise instruction guide which you may need for DIY furniture. As a profession, technical writing is growing at an above-par pace, making it a popular career choice. With the world becoming increasingly dependent on technology, the role of these writers to pass on instructions to consumers has become extremely important.
What Are The Responsibilities Of A Technical Writer?
Technical writers are required to work closely with engineers, scientists, software developers or other companies and industries to understand how the product works and how it benefits the end user. They evaluate the product based on the number of instructions which need to be passed onto the consumer, and immediately set about drafting the correct documentation for this purpose. An increasing number of writers are also being included in the creative input process now, since this will make the product easier to use and thus reduce the number of instructions which must be passed on. On top of the technical documentation that the user will benefit from, these writers are also being recruited to help draft answers to 'frequently asked questions' which can assist staff within the industry or company as well. As new issues arise, or the product is improved, the writer will modify user manuals to reflect the changes.
What Skills Do I Need?
If you want to know how to become a technical writer, you must definitely possess a strong communication skill set. The true test of a writer's ability is how well he is able to translate complex information into something which is easy to understand for an average user. Hand in hand with the ability to communicate, is the need for imagination - to find creative ways of explaining instructions. It also goes without saying that good writing skills are also a requirement for technical writers. Having a keen eye for detail will not only allow the writer to pick up on important information with regards to product usage, it will also help them offer advice on ways to make the use of this product easier for the consumer.
How To Become A Technical Writer: Education And Training
Because the job is quite writing intensive, most employers will prefer candidates with bachelor's degrees in journalism, communication, or English. Having some background knowledge of a specialized field such as computer science or engineering will also help you understand complex products easily. With growing use of online technical documentation, having some Web experience is also an advantage. Training is integral to a writer's job. Some individuals begin their career as a research assistant in a specific field to develop their technical understanding and communication skills before becoming technical writers. The median salary for 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for technical writers was $63,280 annually, making it a highly attractive job option.