Technical Writer Job Description
A Technical Writer is a competent communicator whose job is to transmit information between two or more parties through technical documentation.
They use a variety of distribution channels —electronic, printed, audio-visual, and even touch—to study, build, and convey complex information.
Online support, manuals, white papers, concept requirements, project plans, and program test plans are examples of the content Technical Writers create. They are also rapidly engaging in the development of educational training materials with the emergence of e-learning.
Through internal collaboration, Technical Writers create, collect, and share technical knowledge across the organization. To share detailed and specialized knowledge more effectively, Technical Writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting materials.
Below is a rundown of a Technical Writer’s monthly tasks:
- Ascertain the most applicable medium of documentation for the assignment
- Assemble the project brief by analyzing client information
- Collaborate internally with the technical department to understand company products, services, and strategy
- Review and rework internal content
Technical writing is used when it’s necessary to explain the technical details of a project to non-tech-savvy team members through simplified text. Scientific or technical knowledge will be broken down and explained in the text, allowing the reader to understand and apply the information more easily.
The popularity of technical writing largely stems from the technological shifts in the workplace and day-to-day life. While text may still be the go-to form of relaying information, Technical Writers will need to decide what format will be best suited for the users’ needs, i.e., audio, graphic, or illustrated material.
Text may be best for scientific papers and basic instruction manuals. Technical Writers may need to collaborate with internal graphic designers to shift the medium to a visual aid or work with the sound department to produce an audio guide. This versatility is key to becoming a successful Technical Writer.
Depending on the company’s niche, clients will require different types of content. In the science industry, client briefs may require a technical Writer to simplify scientific papers for the general public or schools to use in their textbooks.
They could also be working on instructional pamphlets for Lego blocks, for example. This is why it’s important that a Technical Writer gathers all the necessary resources and information on the customers’ requirements and conveys this info to the internal team.
Technical Writers often collaborate with multiple internal departments. To monitor the way knowledge circulates across the organization and to clients, Technical Writers consult with the technical department, as well as marketing, management, and other staff members. This ensures consistency and usability of deliverables, thanks to multiple experts providing feedback on the tone and ease of use.
While Technical Writers don’t always need to be in the office in the modern work environment, this specific function will require regular conference calls and group meetings to stay within the same company “voice.”
In the same way that Technical Writers create content based on information they receive, the team they work with also creates content for internal use. Just as Technical Writers submit their work to be reviewed, they also analyze, edit, and submit suggestions for the work their peers create. This process helps keep the content consistent, relevant, and valuable to the targeted audience.
Depending on the corporation’s structure, Technical Writers often collaborate with:
|Roles Technical Writers Collaborate With|
|Marketing Director||Creative Director||Customer Success Manager|
|Social Media Manager||Public Relations Manager||Development Director|
A Technical Writer’s median salary in the United States is around $60,500. The annual salary ranges between $42,000 and $87,000, depending on skill level, industry experience, and the company.
Annual salaries for Technical Writers vary across major U.S. cities as follows:
|City||Average Annual Salary|
|San Francisco, CA||$83,456|
|New York, NY||$72,092|
Experience levels also impact a Technical Writer’s salary. Below is a table of the average wages for Technical Writers based on years of experience:
|Years of Experience||Average Annual Salary|
[Company Name] is actively seeking a motivated, talented, and detail-oriented Technical Writer to assist with creating user-friendly content from complex resources.
To improve product transparency, engagement, and accessibility, your role will require you to develop easy-to-consume content and supplement documentation for products. Solid technical knowledge and the willingness to collaborate with other departments are a must.
- Ascertain the requirements of technical documentation
- Collaborate internally with other departments to help them to understand instructions, services, and products
- Create or rework supportive product material where needed
- QA and rework internal content when necessary
- Ensure the content contains the appropriate visual stimuli to make the understanding of concept easier
- Decide on the best means of communication (video, text, audio, etc.) for each content piece you’ll produce
- Ensure content is uniform across all communications channels
- Gather and analyze feedback from users to enhance existing content
- Be patient, dedicated, and committed to the role
- Must be able to communicate excellently—both orally and in writing
- Be able to take complex information and rewrite it into simplified, easy-to-follow descriptions—from simple how-to guides to in-depth manuals