How to Become a Technical Writer in 2022

How to Become a Technical Writer

If you’re looking to get a job as a technical writer, or just want to learn more about this fascinating career path, then you’ve come to the right place. The world is changing faster and faster, and writing for the tech industry is one of the fastest-growing areas in the writing field. What’s more, the pay can be pretty good for someone who has a wide set of skills.

 

If you’re interested in learning how to become a technical writer, read on! This article will teach you what it takes to become an expert writer, including what types of companies hire tech writers and after-school programs that are helpful for those looking for a career in this area.

Learn About Being a Technical Writer

If you’re thinking about changing careers, becoming a technical writer might be for you. Technical writers are responsible for the content and documentation of software products. It’s an exciting job that provides a good work-life balance and flexibility, as well as a chance to work with innovative people on cutting-edge projects. Here’s how to become a technical writer.

What is Technical Writer?

Technical writing has never been more important than it is now. With the rise of technology, there is a greater demand for technical writers to write manuals and articles that help people understand how their products work. If you’re looking to become a technical writer, here are some things you should know about the industry.

Technical writing can offer you an exciting career with many rewards. You can use your skillset to help educate people on the importance of technology in a variety of industries like health care, education, and manufacturing. These careers can also be creative and provide lots of opportunities for travel.

What does a technical writer do?

Technical writers are the creative minds behind writing manuals, including the installation and use of software. They are responsible for writing clear instructions and specifications on how to use a product. Technical writers typically work with engineers, project managers, and developers to ensure that the information they create is understandable by all levels of users. This can include collaborating on product features and specifications before they’re finalized. Because technical writers are often involved with other writers or designers who may not be familiar with these products, they need to have an understanding of different fields. In order to learn about these various fields, technical writers must carefully review academic literature in their respective disciplines and develop expertise in their field through continued study.

A technical writer creates documents that are easy to understand. They write instruction manuals, guides, journal articles or other kinds of supporting documentation. Technical writers often work for businesses organizing, creating and distributing technical documents.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Determining the best form of documentation for the project

  • Conducting research to gather information

  • Collaborating with technical professionals to understand products and procedures

  • Editing the work of other technical writers

Technical Writer Salary

Technical writers are essential members of a company’s team. Their job is to write content that meets or exceeds the required technical standards and guidelines set by the company. Technical writers handle writing manuals, guides, how-to documents and more for a variety of products. When you’re searching for a new position, it’s important to know what your salary requirements will be in order to ensure that you’re prepared for career prospects.

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In this blog post, we provide information on how much a technical writer earns and what they typically do. We hope this guide helps you feel more confident about your next career move!

The salary of a technical writer can vary depending on location, qualifications, experience, and job title.
The average salary for a technical writer is $50,000/year, which includes an average annual income of around $42,000 per year.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between an editor and a technical writer? An editor focuses on content management including writing blog articles and press releases. Whereas a technical writer will be in charge of translating documents from one language to another while also providing editing services such as fixing grammar errors and rewriting sentences to improve clarity.

Typical salary

Companies usually employ full-time technical writers and pay them hourly wages. Some technical writers are freelancers who work contracts. A technical writer’s salary will depend upon their years of experience and qualifications. The salary may also depend on the location and size of the company.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $20.14 per hour

  • Typical salaries range from $7.25 to $40.50 per hour

Technical writer requirements

Technical writers combine an understanding of technical concepts with the ability to write in a way that is easy to understand. Many of the requirements for being a technical writer serve to demonstrate these skills.

Education

To become a technical writer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in technical writing or a related subject. Your coursework should include business writing, nonfiction writing and editing. It’s helpful to take additional technological courses to prepare for a career in technical writing. You can also earn a degree in engineering, computer science or other technical fields, then take courses in communications and business writing.

Training

Companies will train technical writers on their specific content. Depending on the business, you should receive training in the content and style in which you’ll need to write. You’ll learn more about the types of software and computer programs the company uses as well. During training, you will gain an understanding of the creation and delivery process of the written materials.

There are many technical writing conferences that you can attend to continue training. During technical writing conferences, you can learn more about industry trends, styles of communication and delivery methods. Gaining more knowledge in these areas will help you improve your work and excel in a career as a technical writer.

Certifications

As technical writers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Society for Technical Communication. The STC offers three levels of technical writing certifications—Certified Professional Technical Communicator: Foundation, Practitioner and Expert. As a Foundation CPTC, you show that you have the necessary knowledge to perform work as a technical writer. Earning a CPTC at the Practitioner level demonstrates your ability to write technical documents at an advanced level. The CPTC-Expert designates your proficiency in the subject. To obtain a Foundation CPTC, you’ll need to pass an exam, while the Practitioner and Expert levels require you to pass an exam and submit a writing sample for review.

  • American Medical Writers Association. If you want to be a technical writer in the medical field, you can earn a Medical Writer Certified certification from the AMWA. A MWC shows your ability to write a variety of medical documents. To obtain a MWC, you need to have a bachelor’s degree and two years’ experience in the medical communication field. You must also pass an online exam.

  • National Association of Science Writers. Though the NASW doesn’t offer a certification, you can become a member of the organization. Being a member of the NASW shows that you are a professional in the science communication field. To gain membership, you must submit five samples of work for a non-technical audience that were published in the past five years. You must also have a sponsor who is a current member of the NASW. Students can gain a student membership if they are a part of their school’s journalism or science programs. Once they graduate, they must apply for full membership status.

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Skills

Technical writers typically have the following skills:

  • Writing: You need to have a good command of language to be able to describe complicated information in clear and concise words. As a technical writer, you should be able to write for extended periods of time.

  • Communication: As a technical writer, your work will involve collaborating with other coworkers and clients to ensure you produce satisfactory material. The ability to communicate with others ensures you can successfully work with others to write documents.

  • Problem-solving: Some projects require you to figure out how something works before you document its function. You may also have to write how-to instructions. Strong problem-solving skills will help you understand the topic you’re writing about so you can create simple documents.

  • Research: You should be able to explore technical topics and organize your findings in easy-to-understand language. Conducting in-depth research can help you write more thorough instructions for others.

  • Online publishing: Many technical writers write for websites and other online media. Depending on the company, you may need to have experience with online publishing software or content management systems.

  • Time management: Technical writers often work to strict deadlines, so you need to be able to manage your time well. You may also need to be able to write for different projects concurrently, and strong time-management skills can help you stay on schedule for each project.

Technical writer work environment

Technical writers work in an office as part of a team. They often consult with engineers and other technical staff to manage the way information circulates throughout the company. Collaboration with technical experts also helps them maintain a high level of accuracy in their work. While many technical writers are full-time employees in a company, some work freelance, either self-employed or for a consulting agency.

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Technical writers usually keep regular office hours. They will occasionally need to work late or over weekends to meet deadlines. Writers should expect to sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time, and occasionally work with the products they’re writing about.

How to become a technical writer

If you want to become a technical writer, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree. Choose a major that emphasizes writing or communication. Many universities offer a technical writing degree that will prepare you for a career in the field. Take courses that focus on editing, internet writing and business writing. These will improve your writing skills and develop your ability to simplify complicated information.

  2. Find employment in a technical field. To gain technical experience, you can work in an engineering or technology field. Learning more about the technical aspects of the career can help you write more thorough content.

  3. Become certified. Consider earning a certification or membership in your industry to certify you have at minimum foundational knowledge of technical writing. Obtaining a certification can allow you to expand your job search and increase your earning potential.

  4. Learn popular scripting languages. You can learn common programming languages, such as JavaScript, CSS, AJAX and CFML. More businesses are using online publishing for their documentation. As a result, they need technical writers who can design and write web pages.

Technical writer job description example

We are looking for a technical writer to join our team of talented IT professionals. You will be responsible for documenting requirements, developer guides and online help for our range of web-based products. In this role, you will work with subject matter experts to gather the information you need and write copy that makes sense to a non-specialist. You will also edit and review the work of others to meet that same standard. Extended hours may be necessary under certain circumstances.

To be considered for this job, you must have exceptional writing skills and a background in technology. A bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in engineering or computer science, with coursework in business writing or editing. A degree in communications or journalism with relevant technical experience or coursework will be considered. Previous experience writing online content strongly preferred. Knowledge of JavaScript and CSS desired but not required. If you are a fast learner who works well with a team and thrives under pressure, apply at the address below.

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