Technical writing deals with different technical spheres such as engineering, science, manufacturing, medicine, etc. It may seem that this profession is boring. So many people hesitate to start their career in this field. We decided to show you what inspired people to chose this profession. Believe us, they have powerful reasons.
Because of the name of this profession you may think that tech writers only develop manuals, guides and so on. But they have different interesting tasks, for example, creating visual content. Youtube changed our attitude towards getting information, and now watching a three-minute video is more helpful than reading a dull manual. So a document with lots of text in small print scares people, and no one wants to read it. That’s why, tech writers create audios and videos to simplify comprehension of a manual.
Along with audio and video content, tech writers add to their guides some charts, gifs and screenshots. Of course, you may think that it’s not difficult to take screenshots and it all comes down to just pressing the Print Screen button on a Windows platform or the Command+Shift+3 combination on macOS. But taking a screenshot right is true art. It should contain only essential information in a clear manner not just an image of the whole desktop. Creative tasks challenge your skills and make you think big.
Before working on a manual, a technical writer interviews people who know the program better. So, they communicate with different people such as SMEs, programmers, illustrators everyday. To interview someone isn’t easy, you should be an investigative reporter and a journalist simultaneously. It means that you should work on yourself constantly and develop such skills as teamwork, interviewing, research skills and ability to work with modern technical writing tools.
Speaking of tools, as it was mentioned above, visual content is an essential part of documentation. It demands working with different programs such as FastStone Capture, Microsoft Visio, Adobe Photoshop and so on. But the writing process also demands a special program. Many beginners start their career with MS Word, but it’s not professional. There are many tools specifically for tech writing with different features.
This opportunity to work with interesting people and different tools is the basis for self-improvement. Tech writers aren’t just sitting and writing, they are always on the move and they learn something new everyday.
As long as technical writers should have a set of different skills, their salary is high. The average salary for a technical writer is $60–70K. Of course, a salary depends on your experience, industry and the place where you’re working. For example, the best paying states are California ($86,530), Massachusetts ($84,580) and Connecticut ($83,790). To learn more about salaries, top paying industries and other statistics, read Technical Writer Career Outlook.
Active Social Live
Technical writers are interested in growing, so tech writing organisations set up meetings and conferences where professionals share experience and knowledge. For example, Write the Docsorganizes conferences that are focused on tech writing theory, documentation systems, information sharing and discussing ideas. Not only tech writers visit these meetups and conferences but programmers, customer support, developer advocates and others.
This is great to get first-hand knowledge. If you’re interested in self-development, here is a list of technical communication conferences and meetups.
Technical writing isn’t just about writing README files which no one reads. It helps us and even saves our lives! For example, technical writing is an essential part of medicine. Technology is developing, and manuals help doctors understand what equipment should be used, when and how. That’s why, many people are inspired by the idea of helping people and make efforts everyday to be better.
As you see, technical writing is an exciting job that helps you to grow and meet smart people. It also provides you with the opportunity to work on interesting projects. We hope that we’ve inspired you to start your career in technical writing.
Good Luck with your technical writing career!
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