In order to define the term “technical writer” let’s refer to the dictionary. So according to Oxford Dictionaries Online the word “technical” means:
1. relating to a particular subject, art, or craft, or its techniques
2. involving, or concerned with applied and industrial sciences
3. resulting from mechanical failure
4. according to a strict application or interpretation of the law or rules
From the perspective of these explanation, we may conclude that technical writers deal with technical texts. So a technical writer is a person who transforms complex ideas into concise and clear documentation.
Technical writers may work in different spheres such as engineering, medicine, and the science.
A technical writer should be communicative, have excellent language skills, perfect research and exploration skills. This work is about creation of a document with easy-to-interpret information. It’s suggested that reader can find, understand, and use a document. Technical writers should always keep in mind the knowledge level of the audience during the writing. For example, medical information that is used by physicians may be presented in a complicated way, because it assumes that the reader has necessary knowledge.
There is another equally important aspect of technical writing. It’s document design. In order to create a user friendly document a technical writer should know how to use charts, lists, headings and images in a proper way. For example, highlight warning sections or crucial aspects by using colours, type sizes and so on. On the other side abundance of diagrams, headings, pictures could cause confusion. So the challenge of a technical writer is to find the golden mean.
Education and workflow
Speaking about education a college degree is required. Moreover experience with technical, medical subject, with engineering is welcome. Web design and computer science may play a significant role during a job interview.
Researchers or specialists in a technical field may begin their career as technical writers. At first beginners work with experienced technical writers.
Technical writers work as ordinary office workers. But in order to get in touch with clients who may be living in other time zones, a technical writer may work evenings and weekends.
According to PayScale a technical writer earns $57,549 per year. Of course experience influences income. Speaking about Philadelphia an average salary is $58, 372 per year.
Speaking about beginners, there are no books that you could read, learn and start your career. You should prepare to be a student. Your experience will teach you.
As to your future, the quality of technological products in the home and the workplaces are ever- growing. So those specialists who may write understandable documentation are always on-fire.
Are you interested in this profession? Do you have a friend who is working as technical writer? Is it a difficult job?