Technical writers are the people who are participating in namely every industry. It is just that they are kind of working behind the scenes, almost unnoticed by consumers until the latter buy a new device or need help fixing some product-related issue. User manuals are the ‘glue’ that is keeping together processes inside companies, they simplify product adoption and, in general, serve as a vital communication channel with clients.
Being a technical writer means that you can end up working in practically any industry, and this is a good thing, no doubt. You can be quite mobile and try yourself in different fields. Let’s see which industries traditionally employ a lot of technical writers and what the peculiarities of such jobs are.
A huge industry with broad employment options for tech writers. Software documentation plays an important role in a product lifecycle. This industry employs a lot, but, there are certain specifics here you should be aware of, too. One of the main things to consider when looking for a vacancy in IT is education. Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean having a degree in computer science, of course, but, being able to understand a programming language would be very much appreciated. Tech writers are not devs, for sure, but they still need to know some programming basics.
The case in point can be creating code examples for software documentation which is often asked of technical writers. Help authoring in IT can be quite varied. Besides regular software documentation, doc teams work on knowledge bases (internal and external), FAQ’s, video tutorials, online help.
Quite a unique and exciting occupation for a technical writer. Not everyone can become an astronaut or a pilot, but, being part of this industry is also a noble and interesting path.
As we know, technical writing differs a bit for every industry and aerospace is no exception. A lot here hinges upon following standards meticulously like ATA 100 (a referencing standard commonly used in commercial aircraft documentation) or iSpec 2200 (another information standard for aviation in the US).
One more thing specific to aerospace documentation writing is illustration. Technical writers are often preoccupied with making changes in illustration using tools like AutoCAD, IsoDraw, etc.
Another professional field that welcomes technical writing specialists. Technical writers working in this field even have a special name — medical writers .
Their responsibilities can differ greatly. In medicine, tech writers write scientific articles, pharmaceutical and regulatory documents, technical documentation for software and equipment, education materials, white papers — a whole range of totally different documents, in other words.
In medical writing, a lot of focus is placed on regulations and standards. It is especially true for pharmaceutical docs — maintaining them often comes down to working with placeholders. In this sphere, having a degree in medicine or natural sciences is not necessarily a requirement, but can be appreciated.
In the next part of this short post series, we will pick three more industries known for employing a lot of technical writers and, just like we did today, we will break down peculiarities of such career paths.
Good luck with your technical writing!
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