Technical Writer Career

Job Description: Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.


Is Technical Writer the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Technical Writer Career

What Technical Writers do:

  • Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel.
  • Maintain records and files of work and revisions.
  • Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology.
  • 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.
  • Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding.
  • 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.
  • Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication.
  • Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail.
  • 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 manufacturer's and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment.
  • Develop or maintain online help documentation.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Holland Code Chart for a Technical Writer