So, you are a complete gadget freak. You seem to possess the rare grey cells that turn on the magic of all the new gadgets, computers, laptops, and software applications that are launched in the market. Your friends often avail your guidance to comprehend how to use the latest high-tech product as you a brilliant communicator. Well, you are all set to pursue a career as a technical writer and thrive in the field too.
In the present era, technical writers happen to be quite high in demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for technical writers would increase by 8% from 2018 to 2028. That, on average, is the fastest growth in employment for professional writers than in other employment sectors.
The popularity growth for technical essay writers is the result of the continued increase of scientific and technological products. It is logical, as in the digital marketing space, developers are launching more web-based products. The support for these high-tech products calls for more technical writers. As a consequence, it culminates in the growth of brilliant opportunities for technical writers.
Eager to make a leap in the technical writing field? Let’s break down the job responsibilities of a technical writer, educational qualifications, essential skills required, and how you can get started in the niche.
Without any further ado, let’s get into the deets. Shall we?
What Job Responsibilities Does Technical Writing Entail?
Technical writers, also popularly known as technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, journal articles, how-to guides, and other supporting documents to communicate overly complex and technical information more easily. They also offer online report writing help for your favorite software applications, create interactive tutorials and software demos.
The exact responsibilities of a technical writer vary with the kind of industries they are employed in, but typical job duties include-
- Evaluate functional and technical specifications of products, gadgets, equipment, machinery, automobiles, or software. They are also required to comprehend their documentation requirements.
- Research, design, illustrate, write, and edit high-quality print documentations and interactive manuals for end-users teaching them how to operate the products of a company.
- Develop and design PDF-based documents, knowledge-based, and FAQ for internal and external audiences of a company
- Work with clients to comprehend their project requirements, translate them to technical specifications, and design them for development and implementation teams.
- Write SEO website content, blogs, articles, press releases, and forum posts to promote gadgets, software apps, or products and strengthen the customer relationship of the company.
How To Become An Eminent Technical Writer?
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook put out by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary for a technical writer was $72,850 in May 2019.
But, to become a reputed technical writer whose popularity is only to increase in the upcoming decade, it is vital to have all the educational qualifications. Although the requirements to become a remarkable technical writer are not set in stone, they typically incorporate the following enlisted below-
- Education And Experience
Often, certain people can begin a successful technical writing career with a simple associate’s degree. But, having a bachelor’s degree in English, writing, or communications will make it relatively easier to land more clients. Further, having a degree in a specific technical field- like computer science, engineering, or medicine- is also a solid educational background for technical writers.
Know that numerous clients in the IT sector will expect you to have adequate working experience in fields like web design, engineering, or computer science.
- Technical Writing Certificates
Although they are not necessary, technical writing certificates can demonstrate your professionalism and competence. It can make you more attractive to prospective customers. There also exist certain associations, like the Society for Technical Communication, that offer certifications for technical writers. Moreover, the American Medical Writers Association offers certificates. It also helps in continuing educational programs if your area of emphasis is medical writing.
Most technical writers also require short-term on-the-job training to adapt to different styles of writing.
What Kind Of Skills Does A Tech Writer Require To Master?
Just like any profession, becoming a remarkable technical writer requires the mastering of a certain crucial set of skills. This skill set used to mainly include writing and illustration skills, as humongous manuals for print publication were the standards in the profession. However, in the early and latter part of the 20th century, the world of communications and technology has evolved dramatically.
So, how has the evolution impacted the skillset vital for a technical writer? Let’s figure out-
- Exemplary Writing Skills
As a technical writer, you should be able to explain overly tricky ideas clearly and concisely. You must be able to present that information in such a way that others can easily comprehend. Further, you will also be required to write short, easy-to-digest sentences using an active voice without the usage of complicated words or industry jargon.
- Technical Skills
The technical skills you need to master to become an impeccable writer mainly depend on the subject matter, service, or product that you are documenting. Like, you will need certain crucial skills to write about hardware and other skills to write about the software. Additionally, if you aim to concentrate on a specific industry, you will require comprehending the topic you are writing about.
- Tool Skills
Undoubtedly, a technical writer needs to know his/her way around computer system, since they are used to deliver different formats of documentation. They should have an innate knowledge of Adobe FrameMaker, MadCap Flare, MS Word, RoboHelp, PageMaker, Quark, and the likes. Note, a technical writer should always be ready to learn- it’s truly what they do, and most are capable of learning a new tool quickly and efficiently.
- Interviewing And Listening Skills
To become a prolific technical writer, you should know how to ask questions. Apart from that, you must know how to approach remarkable project stakeholders to acquire necessary information regarding the documentation. Once you have come across the best team members to work with, you also need to develop strong listening skills. This will help you capture pertinent information and decide on the follow-up questions to ask.
- Design Skills
A technical writer must always know how to present vital information visually and work with eminent designers. This implies that you should at least a strong grasp of the fundamentals of graphic design and formatting. Whether you will require basic or advanced design skills will hugely depend on your client’s needs.
- Detail Oriented
Technical writers are always required to draft detailed instructions for others to follow clearly. Due to that, they must be detailed and precise at every step so that the instructions can turn out to be useful for others.
- Communication Skills
A technical writer should possess the ability to take overly complex and technical information. Further, they should also be able to translate it for colleagues and consumers who hail from non-technical backgrounds. In this role, you can never be too shy to ask ‘dumb questions’. You need to be a talented communicator, listener, and interviewer- in simple words- a journalist. Thus, if you have social anxiety, this profession may not be apt for you.
Technical writing is a profitable and prized skill. It is a precious title whether you are intrigued in making a career shift or adding this ability to your present role. Know any employee who can convey technical information at work is incredibly valuable to the company.
To become outstanding in technical writing, follow this comprehensive guide to start planning, reviewing and mastering. Remember becoming an impeccable technical writer is not an overnight process but an extremely rewarding investment in your communication skills and career. Here’s wishing all the luck!