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Technical writer

Technical writer
An expanding and interesting career demanding creative writing ability with technical know-how.

Alternative titles for this role

  • Technical author
  • Technical communicator

Introduction

Technical writers turn complex, technical information into clear and simple language that is easy for either tech professionals or the general public to understand. They compose a variety of documents, such as software manuals, training manuals, assembly instructions, online customer service guides and technical reports. Technical writers often specialize in one field, such as software reporting or medical writing.

What the job involves

  • Write, edit and proofread texts
  • Collate and verify information
  • Create and edit pictures and diagrams
  • Liaise with printers, photographers and translators
  • Produce indexes and catalogues

How your career can develop

With the rapid pace of progress in technology, medical and scientific advancements and the need for professionals to translate specialized data for laypersons, prospects are bright for dedicated technical writers. Many opt to go self-employed and build their own business.

Why technical writing matters

Everything from a four page user manual for a calculator to a 900 page document for a new computer relies on the work, and attention to detail, of technical writers.

Skills

  • Must be proficient in publishing software and programmes
  • Ability to handle large amounts of complex data so information management skills essential
  • A sharp eye for detail
  • Research skills
  • Ability to work to strict deadlines
  • Technical or scientific educational background
  • Accuracy and attention to detail

Typical employers

  • Telecommunications companies
  • Engineering companies
  • Computer hardware and software companies
  • Technical publishers
  • The Civil Service, Department of Defence and local authorities

Typical salary

  • Graduate/Starting €30,000
  • Senior/Potential €55,000

Typical qualifications

Entry is open to all degree disciplines, but some employers may prefer degrees in scientific, technical, engineering or computing disciplines.

Further information

International Association of Business Communicators: www.iabc.com

International Council for Technical Communication: www.intecom.org

Technical Communication in Europe: www.tceurope.org