Example Career: Technical Writers
Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.
What Job Titles Technical Writers Might Have
- Information Developer
- Senior Technical Writer
- Technical Communicator
- Technical Writer
What Technical Writers Do
- Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.
- Maintain records and files of work and revisions.
- Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel.
- Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material.
- Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.
- Develop or maintain online help documentation.
- Assist in laying out material for publication.
- Study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail.
- Arrange for typing, duplication, and distribution of material.
- Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.
- Review manufacturer's and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment.
- Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material.
- Draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence.
- Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding.
- Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication.
What Technical Writers Should Be Good At
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
What Technical Writers Should Be Interested In
- Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
What Technical Writers Need to Learn
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.