Those individuals who concern themselves with technical writing do not receive the same attention as the bestselling authors, but they do provide a crucial function. The job of the technical writer is to act as a translator between highly technical people and the general public. Without this type of help most of us would struggle to understand how even the simplest gadgets function.
The growth of internet and other modern communication technology has greatly increased the demand for technical writers. There is plenty of work available for people who have the right credentials. It would be a mistake though to believe that this type of work will be suitable for anyone who can write well; it isn’t. In order to develop a career as a technical writer you need to be able to write in a certain way. You also have to have a certain degree of love for technology and the knowledgebase to understand the technologists.
What Are the Skills Needed for Technical Writing Positions?
If people are serious about finding work as a technical writer they will need to have the following skills:
- It is not necessary for technical writers to be experts in all types of technology but they will need to have some familiarity with it. This is certainly not a good career choice for the technophobe. As well as being familiar with modern technology the individual is going to need to be able to use quite a bit of it. As part of their job they will of course need to be able to find their way around a computer; they may also be expected to work a video camera and modern audio recording equipment.
- Technical writers need to have good spelling and grammar skills. They will usually be expected to not only write but also edit their own work. Technical writing actually covers a number of different genres including manual writing and web writing; it is probably going to be necessary to be familiar with all of these forms.
- A lot of the content that a technical writer will be expected to complete will require research. This is not the type of writing where you can just sit down at a computer and let your imagination run riot. You will have a subject to write about and you will then need to do the research needed to find out the required knowledge. Research is an art and if you do not know what you are doing you will waste a lot of time; this will make you highly ineffective as a technical writer.
- This is usually a job where you need to be highly self-motivating. There may not be a boss hovering over your shoulder to spur you own; you will be expected to take on an assignment and run with it under your own steam. If you need a boss to make you work then technical writing is probably not for you.