What Is a Technical Writer?

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

Everything from a company’s ads to press releases requires a specific style of writing. You and I write emails, social media posts, and text messages with the intent of simply saying hello or sharing necessary information. A technical writer uses a different approach, employing qualifications earned with a degree to work freelance or corporate jobs and earn a high salary.

A technical writer is a professional who works to share information across different media using specific and pragmatic language. Every aspect of technical writing involves careful planning and crafting to construct clear messages. For professionals working in this role, many jobs include traditional forms of business copywriting like press releases and memos. Technical writing professionals are also now moving to digital platforms like social media to craft goal-oriented messaging on more conversational platforms.

To work as a technical writer, many professionals obtain a degree to earn jobs in the freelance or business world. Like any career, a college degree helps to bring a particular set of credibility to the table. If you don’t work strictly as a writer, then learning technical writing skills can still benefit your career. Let’s review a description of the profession and why these skills are essential to the business world.

Technical Writer Description

If you want to work as a professional writer, then specific qualifications come with the role. For starters, many positions in this field require writers to have strong writing skills. This talent is essential for the job. Other details include the ability to write in a consistent voice. This skill means every piece of content written must sound like it’s coming from a single person or point of view. The task can become challenging when writing across different traditional and digital channels.

Another critical element of technical writing is crafting messages in tough situations. Many aspects of crisis communication involve professionals knowing how to write when working with minimal information or bad news effectively. There are several instances in which the message writers deliver will not be well received. Managing the proper tone and wording is up to the technical writer, which makes it essential they obtain the appropriate qualifications and knowledge to do so.

Lastly, the top salary earners in technical writing specialize in taking complex information and simplifying it for the general public. There are several industry terms that consumers or investors might not care about or understand. In these cases, it’s crucial to simplify things to the most digestible wording and phrases. They are doing so to limit confusion and misconceptions.

Expected Duties and Tasks

In average technical writing jobs, what does a typical day or week look like for you? Well, the tasks and duties of these professionals vary greatly every day. Depending on a project or initiative, announcements and updates might be more structured into a written schedule. Otherwise, things come up unexpectedly, which requires a proper response. In these cases, the timeline is a critical factor in the success of a written memo or response.

Even though a technical writer should prepare for these situations, if they have a degree, there are still surprises. Things like a product recall or changes in management can worry about investors and consumers. Likewise, bad press from a review or news story can call for a carefully crafted press release that leaves little room for error. No matter what a given day looks like, some standard expectations come with the job.

Most jobs require a knowledge of word processors like Microsoft Word and Office Suite. To complete the job, these types of software provide a uniform place to write documents and memos. Any college degree program helps to prepare professionals for the expectations for the duties and tasks of a technical writer. Other necessary skills develop once on the job.

What is the Average Salary?

Depending on what writing services you offer, the average salary for this profession can vary. If you work in most major business sectors, including medical and corporate, then a professional writer usually makes a salary of over $70,000. For a lot of positions in the field, the salary depends on what level you are within the company. Associate professionals make the least amount of money, with lead writers making more. The top wage usually goes to an executive professional writer for a company or business.

The opportunity to freelance also provides a good salary for this job. There are a lot of businesses that hire writers on an as-needed basis in freelance roles. What sort of posts can you get with a freelance career? Well, there’s going to be more on that later. The opportunity to freelance on the side of a regular job can be lucrative.

If you desire to learn more about the salary qualifications of a technical writer, then be sure to research different fields. In most cases, writing for a big company is going to be more lucrative than working for a small business. Likewise, if you work on digital media or marketing as well as technical writing, you can have a better position within the company.

Technical Writer Career Opportunities

Overall, a job in technical writing opens many doors to your professional career. Many writers begin working as a freelance technical writer to gain experience and knowledge before taking on a permanent role. If you have a good college degree, then you can likely obtain these jobs right away.

In short, a career in technical writing is something many pursue its consistency. As long as businesses are running in the United States, professional writers will be in demand. Some people are business-minded, or finance experts, but writing is a skill not all people possess. To learn the craft, many attend college to earn a technical writer degree, although some only reach the level of an Associate’s and find great jobs.

If you want to obtain a career in this field, I would first recommend exploring the types of jobs that exist in the real world. Then, consider reading articles and books on the subject to see if it interests you. From here, you can decide to attend a college for a degree in technical writing or try to begin a career as a freelancer.

Technical Writer FAQ

Becoming a professional writer means exciting opportunities in both the corporate and freelance world. Get a look at what’s ahead for you with these FAQs.

What is a technical writer’s job description?

A description of a technical writer job includes knowing how to accurately write documents, memos, and press releases clearly and concisely. The job usually comes into play when big announcements go public or to provide a response to a crisis. Every business has someone working in the realm of technical writing, whether they focus on this role or simultaneously perform other tasks.

Is becoming a technical writer a good career?

A technical writer experiences a good career in most cases if they obtain a college degree. Many large companies that pay well look for at least an Associate’s degree, with some requiring a Bachelor’s instead. To improve the chances of landing a good career, technical writers can gain experience working in a freelance capacity.

What skills does a technical writer need?

A technical writer needs skills, precision, clarity, and consistent tone across all styles of writing. Professionals in this field need to be able to share information and ideas from a professional perspective. Simplifying complex ideas is essential to achieve the effective communication required of a business in an increasingly digital world.

Is there a demand for technical writers?

There is most often a demand for technical writers because every business strives for clear communication. Consumers and investors both want to have access to understandable information on a business and its goals. To achieve this, small businesses and large companies both looking to hire technical writers to improve their press releases and internal memos.

Conclusion

If you are a reliable writer, then this is a career field worth exploring. There are many opportunities within the world of technical writing to pursue. Plus, every company needs the skills provided by someone who studies and works in this field. Companies create jobs for technical writing regularly to keep up with the need to communicate with the public.

If you desire to explore more about the qualifications of a technical writer and the type of degree and salary the job provides, then explore the articles here on Direct Knowledge. With so much to learn about the field, Direct Knowledge can help introduce you to different things you should know before considering a career in this profession.

Use Direct Knowledge today for free to begin learning more about becoming a technical writer. You can also talk to others about what you read and discuss ideas and questions about the job. With so many different topics to explore on the site, Direct Knowledge is the best place to start if you want to become a technical writer or wish to pick up related skills.

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