Most of the time, technical writers work in offices full-time as salaried employees. They usually write instruction manuals and other documents in a way that will communicate complex, technical information in nontechnical language. They also develop, gather, and communicate technical information among customers, designers, production workers, and manufacturers.
Employers of technical writers often require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. In addition, experience with a technical subject, such as engineering and computer science, is required. These writers must be able to work in a team environment. They must have excellent oral and written communication skills. Since technical writers write, modify, edit, and publish technical articles in a language that can be understood by ordinary people, they must first be able to understand the technical aspects of what they write. They must demonstrate exceptional ability to observe technical processes and relay the information in a concise and effective way. They must be proficient in Microsoft Office. They must also be willing to learn their organization’s specific software.
Technical writers must be able to work under pressure to meet deadlines. They have to be highly motivated and well-organized. They must be good at multitasking and time management. They must continue learning various technological aspects that are relevant to their company. Technical writers are required to do a lot of reading related to technical processes and technological terms that are being used at their organization. They may be required to train or coach more junior technical writers. Depending on the type of organization they are working for, technical writers may need security clearance and must meet eligibility requirements to access classified information.
Technical Writer Tasks
- Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions.
- Assist in layout work.
- Gather and research information for use in technical documentation.