A technical writer (also called a technical communicator) is a professional writer who designs, creates, and maintains technical documentation. This documentation includes online help, user guides, white papers, design specifications, system manuals, and other documents.
Engineers, scientists, and other professionals may also produce technical writing, usually handing their work to a professional technical writer for proofreading, editing, and formatting. A technical writer produces technical documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences.
In addition to solid research, language, and writing skills, a technical writer may have skills in:
- Information design
- Information architecture
- Training material development
Technical writing may be on any subject that requires explanation to a particular audience. A technical writer is not usually a subject matter expert (SME), but possesses and applies expertise to interview SMEs and conduct research necessary to produce accurate, comprehensive documents. Companies, governments, and other institutions typically hire technical writers not for expertise in a particular subject, but for expertise in technical writing, i.e., their ability to gather information, analyze subject and audience and produce clear documentation.
A good technical writer creates documentation that is accurate, complete, unambiguous, and as concise as possible. Technical writers create documentation in many forms: printed, web-based or other electronic documentation, training materials, and industrial film scripts.
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