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Technical Writer Job Description

A technical writer is a competent communicator of information whose job is to transmit information between two or more parties through some means that promotes information transfer and understanding in the best way possible. Via a variety of distribution channels (electronic, printed, audio-visual and even touch), Technical Writers study and build information. 

Online support, manuals, white papers, concept requirements, project plans and program test plans are examples of information categories. Technical writers are rapidly engaging in the development of educational training materials with the emergence of e-learning.

Similar Job Titles:

Tech Writer, Technical Author

What Does a Technical Writer Usually Do?

In order to share detailed and specialized knowledge more effectively, technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting materials. Via the contact networks of an entity, they also create, collect, and disseminate technological knowledge.

Below is a rundown of a Technical Writer’s monthly tasks:

  1.   Ascertain the most applicable medium of documentation for the assignment
  2.   Assemble project brief by analyizing client information
  3.   Collaborate internally with the technical department to understand company products and strategy
  4. Review / rework internal content

Ascertain the Most Applicable Medium of Documentation

Technical writing is used if it is necessary to express technical details through simplified text. Scientific or technical knowledge will be broken down and explained in the text and the reader will be able to use the information in an easier manner. 

Technical writing is particularly popular thanks to the technological shifts seen in the workplace and day-to-day life. While text may still be the most popular form of relaying information, as a Technical Writer, you will need to decide what format will be best suited for the users’ needs, i.e. graphic, audio or illustrated.

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 even work with the sound department to produce an audio guide. This versatility is key to becoming a successful Technical Writer.

Assemble Project Brief by Analyzing Client Information

Depending on the company industry, different clients will require different content. If you’re working in the science industry, client briefs may require you to simplify scientific papers for the general public to access, or schools to use in their textbooks. 

You could also be working on instructional pamphlets for Lego blocks. This is why it’s important as a Technical Writer to gather resources and information on the customers’ requirements, and then take this info through to the internal team to collaborate on.

Collaborate Internally with The Technical Department

Technical Writers often collaborate with multiple internal departments. In order 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 technical personnel. This also allows consistency to remain at maximum, thanks to multiple experts providing feedback on 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 in order to stay within the same company “voice”.

Review / Rework Internal Content

In the same way that Technical Writers create content based on information they’ve received, the team you’ll be working with also creates content. Just as a Technical Writer submits their work to be reviewed, you’ll also be required to analyze, edit, and submit suggestions for the work your peers submit. This process helps keep the content consistent, simple, and ultimately suitable for the targeted audience.

Roles a Technical Writer Typically Collaborates With

Depending on the corporation’s structures, Technical Writers often collaborate with varies aspects of the business. The most common are:

Roles Technical Writers Collaborate With
Marketing Director Advertising Director Customer Experience
Creative Director Public Relations Social Media Manager

Technical Writer Salary

A Technical Writer’s median salary in the United States is around $60,500. 

A Technical Writer’s annual salary ranges between $42,000 and $87,000, depending on skill level, industry experience, and the company.

What is the Technical Writer Pay Difference by Location?

Annual salaries for a Technical Writer vary across the major U.S. cities:

City Average Annual Salary
San Francisco, CA $83,456
Seattle, WA $76,624
Denver, CO $61,558
Austin, TX $63,290
Washington, DC $66,807
Milwaukee, WI $49,343
Boston, MA $67,934
New York, NY $72,092

What is the Technical Writer Pay Difference by Experience?

Experience levels also determine 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
< 1  $49,000
1–4  $55,000
5–9 $65,000
10–19  $71,000
20+ $73,000

Technical Writer Job Description Template

[Company Name] is actively seeking a motivated, accurate and detailed 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 user-friendly content and supplement documentation for products. A solid knowledge base and the willingness to collaborate with other departments cooperatively are a must.

Technical Writer Responsibilities:

  •         Ascertain the requirements of technical documentation consumers
  •         Research trial outcomes and collaborate with designers and product designers where needed
  •         Collaborate internally with the technical department to make it easier to understand instructions and products
  •         Create or rework supportive product material where needed
  •         Rework content from internal team where needed
  •         Ensure the content contains the appropriate visual stimulus in order to make understanding the concept easier
  •         Decide on the best means of communication (video, text, audio etc.) for the message
  •         Ensure content is uniform across all content channels
  •         Gather and analyze feedback from users in order to enhance or rewrite content

Technical Writer Requirements:

  •         Be patient, dedicated, and be committed to the role
  •         Must be able to communicate excellently
  •         Be able to take complex information and rewrite it into simplified, easy-to-follow descriptions

·         Have working experience with 3D illustrations, graphic design, typography, as well as the complete printing processes from start to end