Technical Writers are responsible for creating and writing various types of user documentation, including how-to guides, references, manuals, cheat sheets, or instructions.
The typical duties of a Technical Writer are: Explain scientific and technical ideas in simple language; Prepare charts, graphs, or forms to go along with rough drafts; Write clear and concise policies and procedures; Edit industrial publications; Create table of contents and cite sources; Adjust copy as necessary and proofread for grammar and spelling; Conduct online tutorials.
- Astrix Technology Group
The median annual wage for Technical Writers was $71,850 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,000 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,070.
How to get there:
Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications. Many technical writing jobs require both a degree and knowledge in a specialized field, such as engineering, business, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation. Some technical writers begin their careers as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. By developing technical communication skills, they eventually assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offers certification for technical writers. In addition, the American Medical Writers Association offers extensive continuing education programs and certificates in medical writing. These certificates are available to professionals in the medical and allied scientific communication fields. Neither of these are required but looked favorably upon by employers.
- Good communication skills
- Strong written communication
- Detail oriented
- Works well in a team
- Excellent writing skills
- Strong technical skills
Prospects for advancement generally include working on more complex projects and leading, editing, or training junior staff. Some Technical Writers become self-employed and produce work on a freelance basis.
- Composition I and Advanced Composition/
- BTW 250- Principles of Business Communication
- CMN 101- Public Speaking
- CMN 211- Business Communication
- ECON 302- Microeconomic Theory
- ECON 414- Urban Economics
Relevant Clubs & Organizations:
- Creative Writing Club
- Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
- American Advertising Federation at the University of Illinois (AAF-Illinois)