Back to articles

What is a Technical Writer?

June 11, 2013

Also called “technical communicators”, technical writers create collateral for employees, manufacturers, users and other stakeholders. Through written language, they help readers navigate complex processes and technical information. They also gather, develop, and distribute technical information through the communication pathways found within their organizations.

Job Responsibilities

Technical writers are responsible for a variety of duties. Generally, their work consists of developing content for items such as operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and frequently asked questions for products or services. They may work to discern the technical documentation needs, study product samples, or collaborate with product designers and developers. They can also connect directly with technical staff to increase the ease of use of products. Technical writers may write, edit, standardize, and edit content, and select the appropriate mediums for certain messages. They may also incorporate visual elements such as photographs or charts, into their work. Commonly, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and interpret it for a wide range of audiences.

Salary Details

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers make a median annual salary of $70,930. Those in the top ten percent of earners can make as high as $113,810 per year. The outlook for this field is strong, with a projected 11 percent increase in jobs until 2026. This is particularly true in the technology and electronics industries.

Education Requirements

To become a technical writer, a bachelor’s degree is generally required. In addition, employers may look for a technical background, such as one in computer science, web design, or engineering. Earning a professional certificate may help give candidates a leg up in the job market. Certificates are offered from the Society for Technical Communication and the American Medical Writers Association.