Technical Writers

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Also known as:  Assembly Instructions Writer, Documentation Writer, Engineering Writer, Handbook Writer, Medical Writer, Specifications Writer, Technical Communicator, Technical Writer

ABOUT TECHNICAL WRITER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Do you like to explain how things work? That's often what a technical writer does. It is very important to be able to write clearly and simply. This is a job that usually requires a college degree in the liberal arts, especially majors in communications, journalism, and English. It also helps if you ...
have training in the field for which you'll be writing. For example, technical writers who describe how to operate equipment can benefit from a background in engineering.

When you read operating or maintenance manuals, catalogues, assembly instructions, product descriptions, and other materials meant to inform and educate, you're reading the work of a technical writer. A technical writer is, in a way, a translator. He or she translates scientific, medical or other complex information into easily understandable language.

Technical writing is a skill you can take anywhere. They are employed throughout the country, with the most jobs being available in the Northeast, Texas, and California. With rapid growth in technology and electronics, demand for the services of technical writers should continue to rise, especially for people who are comfortable with changing technology.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material.
Review manufacturer's and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment.
Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel.
Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.
Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding.
Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication.
Arrange for typing, duplication, and distribution of material.
Study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail.
Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
Assist in laying out material for publication.
Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
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