Senior technical writers create detailed articles for magazines or online journals and publications in specialized fields, and may also write and edit technical operators' manuals and even certification tests. The senior-level designation normally implies that they handle the most important technical writing within a company, and they may also assign and edit the work of junior-level technical writers and review their submissions for accuracy.
Knowledge of subject matter is what separates a technical writer from standard journalists, and senior technical writers typically specialize in fields of expertise such as computer hardware, software, engineering, or other industrial or professional fields. Many also have extensive professional and educational backgrounds within these fields. In many cases, their writing is aimed at a knowledgeable audience with experience in the subject matter, so they must be fluent in the jargon and terminology of that particular field.
When senior technical writers develop operating manuals and certification tests, they typically enlist other individuals to test the clarity of instructions and provide feedback on the material as presented. Most technical writers also use a strenuous revision process through multiple iterations of their work, whether it is for professional journals, public online publishing, or technical operating guides. Senior technical writers may also lead a team of writers on larger projects, issue assignments, and edit and review submissions.
A senior technical writer typically needs a broad and varied educational background, and expertise within a given subject matter may require a degree or certification in that field. In addition to practical experience, a demonstrated ability to write for publications is also required, and many senior technical writers have either dual majors, including journalism or writing degrees, or master's level education. Senior technical writers typically work for journals and publications, but are also employed by software companies, medical equipment specialists, and in any field that requires extensive, detailed, and complex user documentation.
Senior Technical Writer Tasks
- Organize, review, and write materials for clarity and message.
- Standardize documentation for layout, style, and language, and create templates and scripts to automate as possible.
- Work with project teams to create documentation for diverse groups.
- Track revisions and edits, and maintain files.
- Review and improve formatting and visual components, and select drawings and specifications.