Your Guide to Becoming a Technical Writer

January 10th, 2013 by

Technical WriterAlthough most people are aware of what a writer does, not as many people know about technical writers. Unlike those who write magazine articles or novels, a technical writer is someone who turns technical and advanced data into something that can be easily understood. Technical writers are the people who write instruction manuals for complicated devices, grant proposals for nonprofit agencies and even contracts for mergers and acquisitions. In a nutshell, working as a technical writer is very focused and detailed work. While it requires extensive communication skills and a detail-oriented personality, it does not typically need much creativity or artistic license.

If you are interested in becoming a technical writer, it is important to understand what careers are available, what salaries are typical, what you need to get ahead in this field and what kinds of education and training is required.

Training and Education in Technical Writing

There are many different ways to begin a successful career as a technical writer, but almost all of them involve some kind of formal advanced education. The most common way to become a technical writer is to have an existing career in a specific field such as recruitment or medical technology. From that point, you can pursue a specific training course or introductory degree that allows you to utilize your knowledge and become a technical writer in your niche area. Of course, many technical writers first perfect their writing skills through a degree and then pick a specific subject in which to write. If you are interested in this approach, the best degree is a bachelor’s degree in communications or technical communications.

Typical Career Opportunities in Writing

Although there is a slight decline in fields like journalism, due primarily to the rise in Internet communications, there is still a growing need for technical writers. Technical writers earn more than traditional writers, making an average of $66,000 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technical writers might be employed by software companies, healthcare organizations or even financial institutions. Technical writers could take on tasks ranging from summarizing the uses of new medical machinery to writing elaborate contracts for two companies who are entering into a financial partnership. Almost all technical writers will have salaried positions, a growing rarity for writers and a major advantage when it comes to employment stability.

Attributes of Successful Technical Writers

As you might expect, the most important attribute of a technical writer is being a solid writer. You don’t need to be able to write long novels or be particularly creative, but you will need Technical Writing Degrees Onlineto have a solid grasp of language, have exceptional grammar and write free from basic spelling and syntax mistakes. Although writing is the most important skill to have, it is also vital that technical writers are able to communicate well with their clients. They should also be willing to accept criticism and change their writing style to suit particular projects and tasks.

Advantages of Online Education

Technical writers can choose to receive their training and education through a traditional college program or an online alternative. For busy and nontraditional students, an online degree in technical communications can be the perfect way to get the flexibility you need. An online degree allows students to work, study and care for family at the same time, and there are no additional costs involved. In fact, many online degrees can actually save you money. can help you find the right degree program offered by an accredited college or university to help you reach your professional goals.

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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