Skip to Main Content

What Is a Technical Writer and How to Become One

Technical Writer

What Is a Technical Content Writer?

A technical content writer prepares documents which explain highly specialized concepts from technical fields such as web design, computer science, engineering, and science. Technical content writers draft many types of documents including code documentation, instruction manuals and user guides, articles, and reports. To be successful, technical content writers must be subject matter experts in the fields for which they write, or they must be competent researchers who can quickly assimilate new information into writing projects.

How Do You Get a Job as a Technical Writer?

To get a job as a technical writer, you need to develop your writing skills and build your knowledge base about the technical fields that interest you. For example, if you want to write user guides for accounting software, then become an accounting software expert. Build a portfolio of work samples. Search online for technical writing internships and freelance or contract positions. Gain real-world technical writing experience so employers with full-time positions can see your talent.

What Do You Do as a Technical Writer?

Technical writers create documents that explain complex technical information in language that is simple to understand. As a technical writer, you research the technical subject matter you are working on, then you draft the instructional documents using simple language and minimal industry jargon so that anyone reading it can understand it. Your projects may include how-to manuals, informational booklets for appliances, scientific journal articles, and other types of supporting descriptions, such as documentation for computer applications. Technical writers may work as an employee for a particular company, on the staff of a writing agency, or as a freelance contractor with several clients.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Technical Writer?

The requirements to become a technical writer vary, depending on the employer and industry. Some employers require technical writers to have a bachelor’s degree in English, writing, technical communications, or a specific technical field related to their business, such as computer science or engineering. Other employers may consider candidates who have experience in content writing or technical writing but who do not have a bachelor’s degree. Practice writing different kinds of instruction manuals and descriptions to develop your writing skills and to build a solid portfolio. Regardless of educational background, technical writers must have a solid command of the English language and excellent written communication skills.

Technical Writer Job Description Sample

With this Technical Writer job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Technical Writer role.

Job Summary

We are currently seeking a highly skilled technical writer to join our growing organization. In this position, you will create easy-to-understand user content and product documentation to increase product clarity, performance, and usability. A strong knowledge base and the ability to work cooperatively with other teams are a must.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with internal teams to understand product documentation requirements
  • Create strong content that fulfills company standards and audience goals
  • Write straight-forward user tutorials and interface text
  • Utilize a variety of media forms; include images and charts
  • Analyze current content and make improvements as necessary

Requirements and Qualifications

  • BS in Computer Science, Engineering, or equivalent preferred
  • Experience in technical writing of software documentation
  • Solid working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite
  • Familiarity with the SDLC and general software development
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills