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Become A Technical Writer And Editor

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Working As A Technical Writer And Editor

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $47,458

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical Writer And Editor Do

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.


Technical writers typically do the following:

  • Determine the needs of users of technical documentation
  • Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
  • Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus require fewer instructions
  • Organize and write supporting content for products
  • Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
  • Standardize content across platforms and media
  • Gather user feedback to update and improve content
  • Revise content as new issues arise

Technical writers create paper-based and digital operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and “frequently asked questions” pages to help technical support staff, consumers, and other users within a company or an industry. After a product is released, technical writers also may work with product liability specialists and customer-service managers to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

Technical writers often work with computer hardware engineers, scientists, computer support specialists, and software developers to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Therefore, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and communicate the information to people with diverse professional backgrounds.

Applying their knowledge of the user of the product, technical writers may serve as part of a team conducting usability studies to help improve the design of a product that is in the prototype stage. Technical writers may conduct research on their topics through personal observation, library and Internet research, and discussions with technical specialists.

Technical writers are also responsible for managing the consistency of technical content and its use across business departments including product development, manufacturing, marketing, and customer relations.

Some technical writers help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions.

Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online and through social media. Technical writers are using the interactive technologies of the Web and social media to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

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How To Become A Technical Writer And Editor

A college degree is usually required for a position as a technical writer. In addition, experience with a technical subject, such as computer science, Web design, or engineering, is important.


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, computer science, or medicine. Web design experience also is helpful because of the growing use of online technical documentation.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some technical writers begin their careers as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. They eventually develop technical communication skills and assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. In small firms, beginning technical writers may work on projects right away; in larger companies with more standard procedures, beginners may observe experienced technical writers and interact with specialists before being assigned projects.


Many technical writers need short-term on-the-job training to adapt to a different style of writing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some associations, including the Society for Technical Communication, offer 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.

Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a technical writer’s opportunities for advancement.


Prospects for advancement generally include working on more complex projects and leading or training junior staff. Some technical writers become self-employed and produce work on a freelance basis.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Technical writers must be able to take complex, technical information and translate it for colleagues and consumers who have nontechnical backgrounds.

Detail oriented. Technical writers create detailed instructions for others to follow. As a result, they must be detailed and precise at every step so that the instructions can be useful.

Imagination. Technical writers must be able to think about a procedure or product in the way a person without technical experience would think about it.

Teamwork. Technical writers must be able to work well with others. They are almost always part of a team: with other writers; with designers, editors, and illustrators; and with the technical people whose information they are explaining.

Technical skills. Technical writers must be able to understand highly complex information. Many technical writers need a background in engineering or computer science in order to do this.

Writing skills. Technical communicators must have excellent writing skills to be able to explain technical information clearly.

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Technical Writer And Editor jobs

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Technical Writer And Editor Career Paths

Technical Writer And Editor
Business Analyst Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Product Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Writer Author Editor
Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Consultant Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Marketing Manager Business Manager
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Writer Managing Editor Project Manager
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
10 Yearsyrs
Proposal Manager Senior Project Manager Marketing Consultant
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Contract Technical Writer Senior Technical Writer Project Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contract Technical Writer Document Specialist Technical Writer
Proposal Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Proposal Manager Technical Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer And Editor Senior Technical Writer Business Analyst
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Technical Writer Business Analyst Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Proposal Writer Proposal Manager
Senior Proposal Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Proposal Writer Writer And Editor
Senior Technical Writer
9 Yearsyrs
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Technical Writer And Editor Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Russian

  • Portuguese

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • Persian

  • Hindi

  • Korean

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Hungarian

  • Norwegian

  • Bosnian

  • Vietnamese

  • Tagalog

  • Urdu

  • Croatian

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Technical Writer And Editor Education

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Real Technical Writer And Editor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Writers and Editors Microsoft Corporation Fargo, ND Aug 24, 2010 $71,000
Technical Writer/Editor Cortech, LLC Tempe, AZ Jul 08, 2013 $66,784
Biblical Curriculum Technical Writer/Editor Glossa Ordinaria, LLC Castle Rock, CO Oct 01, 2012 $65,000
Technical Writer/Editor Tai Foong USA, Inc. Seattle, WA Mar 01, 2011 $57,768
Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Sep 21, 2013 $57,000
Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Oct 01, 2012 $51,800
Art Technical Writer/Editor Kang Collection Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2016 $49,796
Staff Technical Writer/Editor National Instruments Corporation Austin, TX Nov 08, 2013 $49,000
Technical Writer/Editor F. O. USA, Inc. New York, NY Jan 03, 2011 $47,458
Technical Writer/Editor Duo Creative Communications Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2012 $42,037
Technical Writer/Editor of History Stackpole, Inc. New York, NY Oct 02, 2010 $41,350 -
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Sep 14, 2011 $40,000
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks Oklahoma City, OK Sep 14, 2011 $40,000
Technical Writer/Editor Teaching Textbooks, Inc. Waco, TX Sep 14, 2011 $40,000

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Top Skills for A Technical Writer And Editor


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Top Technical Writer And Editor Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Proposals
  3. Technical Documentation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Streamlined existing upstream Standard Operating Procedures to meet new company and FDA standards
  • Assisted in writing proposals to government specifications.
  • Researched and produced technical documentation for ADP users at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport.
  • Create, edit and maintain web content, ensure continuity and coordinate activity with project manager.
  • Coordinate the development of glossary entries by a wide range of national subject matter experts.

Top Technical Writer And Editor Employers

Technical Writer And Editor Videos

Writing Career Advice : How to Become Technical Writer

Technical Writing 101: Introduction to Technical Writing

Making Your Living as a Technical Writer (AWP Career Services Web Series)