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Technical Writer Job Scope: What Technical Writers Really Do

Posted by
Anastasia in TechComm Career Path on 10/24/20174 min read

Tech Writing

You may have seen this job title popping on professional platforms or in your network, only to ask yourself: what exactly does a technical writer do? The intuitive definition of technical writing is that it is a profession that focuses on documenting the knowledge base of products and services and making them easy to understand by the end user.

Let’s break technical writing down a little and see what this job entails

The Purpose of Technical Writing

The job of a technical writer is to create specialized content (for example medical news, product details, software manuals, etc.) and communicate it as efficiently as possible to a specific audience. Of course, the information the writer provides must be accurate and without any gaps or room for interpretation. The content must be presented and edited in a user-friendly manner so that people that have no tech knowledge can understand the information without difficulties.

Some of the most common examples of technical writing include user manuals, help guides, online courses, and so on. If you’ve ever come across one, you may have noticed that they use a certain writing style and formatting. Regardless, the purpose is always the same: to inform and teach the target audience and make it easier for them to find the information they need about the products or services they are using.

Marketing

As more and more user manuals are going online, another purpose appears - technical documentation becomes a marketing tool. And, as a result of this evolution, a documentation team can start bringing more money to the company by just doing their job. That's something!

Skills Needed to Be a Good Technical Writer

If you want to become a good technical writer, having experience in the industry is not enough anymore. You also need to have excellent communication skills (written and verbal) design knowledge and much more.

If you want to create high-quality help authoring for an IT company, for example, you must have a deep understanding of the product as well the audience you are addressing.

Here are some of the skills you need to acquire to become a professional technical writer:

  • Learn How to Make Content Visually Appealing

    Visual

    People respond better to visual content than text. Images, graphics, and videos can help you pack and communicate the information better. As a result, having great technical writing skills is not enough anymore. You also need to use different tools to create appealing visual content.

  • Know How to Create and Edit Multimedia Content

    With the advent of multimedia content, people nowadays expect to find video and audio content integrated into the knowledge base. A technical writer that has video and audio experience will gain a significant advantage over those who didn’t catch up yet.

  • Having Programming/Coding Knowledge

    Coding

    If you want a job in the IT industry, then it should go without saying that you need to acquire some basic coding and programming skills. Just think about it: if you want to create high-quality documentation for software, then you need to understand at least the basic principles behind it and be able to anticipate the questions your audience may have.

  • Project Management

    Generating and updating the knowledge base will require good planning, time management and keeping track of all the projects in their different stages. Juggling with several projects without compromising on quality is a mandatory skill for a professional technical writer.

You can learn about more technical writing skills in this article - 11 Skills of a Good Technical Writer.

Conclusion

There you have it: what a technical writer does and the skills you need to acquire to become one. In the end, try to remember that your main purpose is to educate your audience about a new product and help them understand how to use it. And, that requires more than just being able to create quality tech content.

Good Luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Online Documentation & Technical Writing Tools

 

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