Technical Writers provide information to users who need specific information related to the usage of products, completing tasks or operating of equipment with the aim to accomplish a defined goal or task. Also known as technical communicators, their job involves explaining technical information into simple language. Technical writers work closely with engineers and in information-technology-related industries, where they try to understand and how products work, conduct usability study and narrates the technical content for a variety of users. They create documents such as User manuals, Instruction booklets, Process documents, Reports and brochures, Online help guides and Business proposals. Most Technical writers are employed by the companies that use their services or some may work on a freelance basis and are paid per assignment. They may be identified with different job titles depending upon the place of occupation such as Communications Specialist, Policy and Procedure Writer, Proposal Writer, Publications Specialist, Web Editor, Documentation Specialist, Information Developer, Technical Editor, and Information Designer. The field applies not only to Information technology but also extends to other fields like Pharmaceuticals, Aeronautics, Automobile, Mechanical, Chemical, and others. With an inclination to learn new technologies along with an educational background for science or IT with good written communication skills one can become a successful Technical Writer.
Salaries and Job Outlook*
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The growing IT, expansion of scientific and electronic products and manufacturing service sectors have created a huge demand for technical writers. Technical writing jobs are usually concentrated in locations with information technology or scientific and technical research companies but are also hired across other industries like automotive, insurance, aerospace, pharmaceutical, healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. It also offers the highest freelancing opportunity after web designing for companies that do not engage full time writers. A junior Technical writer can earn an average salary of INR 1.8 lacs p.a. and with experience and additional skills acquired can earn approximately up to 4.0 lacs p.a.
Education and Training
A formal qualification is not a requirement for a Technical writer; however one may pursue a degree in mass communication, journalism or literature to enhance job opportunities among employers. Technical writers for the IT industry should have basic knowledge of using applications that are typically used in a technical writing environment. Popular applications include Microsoft Office, Adobe Framemaker, RoboHelp, Madcap Flare, Adobe Photoshop, HTML and XML editors. Some employers may hire Technical writers with some experience in the related field or a prior experience of strong proofreading abilities.
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Valued Traits & Abilities
Technical writing is a vast field that offers work possibilities in almost every industry and different sectors like the IT, education, medical, finance, government projects at all levels. They are also in great demand in new fields such as clinical research, bioinformatics, tourism, law and patent writing. Some technical writers use their solid communication skills, technology savvy, and project management experience to branch out to other fields like marketing or interaction design or easily move to IT jobs like system analysts or programmers. Prospects for advancements are relatively high with Freelancing opportunities as well. Some related career opportunities one can explore as a technical writer are:
Their job involves some type of analysis to define the requirements and specifications, and translating the research into an instructional curriculum to produce a desired outcome through the practice of design and development of processes. They are employed by most multi-media formats for designing pamphlets and online tutorials.
Understand business and user needs and then organize information with the process of organizing, mapping, categorizing data into something that is easily utilized by the user. Most companies with large web presence hire Information architects who describe how the site is organized and information flows to each other and user navigation towards desired goals.
Their job role may vary from industry to industry ranging from healthcare, business and law or technical. They analyze the audience and write technical materials and also are responsible for maintaining, retrieval and cataloging of such records. Regular updation and document security are also among his responsibilities.
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