- Personality type:
- Print and Media
- Writing technical documents in a simple manner for users
- Researching and understanding the technological aspects of the subject matter
Is this role right for me?
For this role, you will need to:
- Have brilliant written communication skills
- Be able to write in a simple, but non-condescending manner
- Have a keen understanding of technology
- Be able to sort information into what the reader needs to know, and what they don’t
- Work to a tight deadline while still keeping the work quality to a professional standard
- Commission or create images and illustrations
- Evaluate your own projects to make sure all the facts are accurate
- Keep up-to-date with all the latest trends in the sector you write for
- Research your subject thoroughly, from reading technical documents to meeting with industry experts
- Know how to use software designed with technical writing in mind
What does a Technical Author do?
Technical Authors are writers that communicate complex technical information about products using a simple and easy to understand language for a user. This can take the form of instruction manuals, guides or online help pages. The role requires someone with an in-depth understanding of the subject matter, but also possesses a literary flair that allows them to communicate concisely.
Technical Authors can write for all sorts of industries, though many specialise to allow them to gain a greater knowledge of the service or product. Some of the most popular industries are automation, defence, finance, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical, nuclear energy and IT.
Technical Authors can sometimes be referred to as “Technical Writers”.
Will I need a qualification?
Ideally you would want an advanced qualification in one of the areas you’re looking to write about.
What’s the best route in?
A lot of Technical Authors are former professionals of the subject area they cover, or at the very least intended to be and studied towards it before switching to technical writing. However, if you lack work experience in an area you want to write for, then there are other routes to pursue.
Having a degree in the subject or technical communications would help show potential employers your dedication to the craft, and building up a portfolio will show your dedication to researching and understanding before committing to paper.
Where might the role take me?
As a Technical Author becomes more known and respected in the field, they often find themselves focusing more on specialised documentation, eventually writing very technical documents for developers or engineers, instead of users.
Alternatively, they could end up in an editor position at a publishing house for technical documents.
Interested? Find out more…
For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.
- TechWhirl publishes conversation, news and debate about the latest issues and opportunities for Technical Authors
- Publishers Association is a leading publishing representative, offers information and event dates.
- Publishers Weekly posts news on the publishing industry
- Publishing Trends posts links to the best articles about the publishing industry