Preparing instruction manuals, creating how-to guides and communicating complex, technical information simply – just another day in the life of a technical writer.
What Does a Technical Writer Do?
A technical writer develops content for products, edits work across a variety of teams, and samples products to make sure they understand their functionality.
Technical writers brainstorm, outline and write content that describes the capabilities and features of various technology products and services. They typically communicate these messages in user-friendly, accessible language. Their goal is to create content and product descriptions that people of all technical backgrounds can understand.
After writing their concise, informative content, technical writers then jump into editing, either on their own or in collaboration with other writers or editors, who may also assign them to edit content created by other teams, including engineers and marketing staff.
To understand how products work, technical writers might work directly with engineers, developers, and designers. They might also complete a hands-on demonstration or hold a discussion with the product team to make sure they understand everything about what the product does and what purposes it serves.
What Skills Should a Technical Writer Have?
A comprehensive understanding of content writing is essential to succeeding in technical writer jobs. These professionals must create succinct product descriptions and how-tos with exceptional attention to grammar. In addition, technical writers can benefit from knowledge in the following areas:
- Microsoft Office, Google Docs and other content generation tools.
- Content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
- SEO technology such as Moz or SEMrush.
- Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications (MSTP).
In addition to being a skilled writer and editor, technical writers should have the following strengths:
Detail-oriented approach: Technical writers should practice precision to make sure the information they share is completely accurate.
Strong communication skills: Technical writers have to take on complex facts and information about products and translate them into terms that consumers of all backgrounds can understand. This ability to make advanced information user-friendly requires effective communication.
Teamwork and collaboration: In order to produce accurate content, technical writers might have to work with different teams. They might communicate with the design team to convey how the product design works and they might need to speak with the product developers to make sure they don’t miss any necessary information.
Knowledge and passion in technology: Technical writers should be able to understand the technology they are writing about. They have a background in engineering or computer science, or they might simply be passionate about the latest innovations.
Interview Questions to Ask Technical Writer Candidates
- Share a time when you had to effectively communicate a difficult product or process. How did you complete this task?
- What experience do you have interviewing subject matter experts?
- What tech publications do you follow?
- How would you describe your writing process? What is the order of steps you take when researching and writing?
Profiles Technical Writer Recruitment
Whether you’re looking for a technical writer or hoping to become one someday, contact Profiles’ technical writer recruiters know what it takes to connect today’s best businesses with highly qualified technical writer candidates.