technical writer


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technical writer

The person responsible for writing hardware and software documentation, online help, technical definitions and product descriptions. Quite often, the technical writer is given the task of documenting an application at the last minute, allowing very little time for a thorough understanding of all the options, let alone time for others to read and edit the material before it is published.

A Necessary Evil
Although technical writing is a skill that takes years to learn, and while some companies do appreciate it, most do not. Technical writers are often given less attention than other professionals in the field. As a result, almost all the documentation we read could be better, and much of it is downright indecipherable. Is it any wonder that even technical people avoid reading manuals at all costs (see RTFM)?

A Note from the Author


Describing technical material is as difficult a job as some of the most complex programming. I know because I have been doing both for more than 50 years. However, bad programming is often invisible. As long as the program seems to work, nobody has any idea how many resources are being wasted behind the scenes. Without having programming experience and viewing the source code, no one can know that the app will take five times longer to modify than it should because of its poor design.

But, poor writing is very visible... up front... staring you in the face. And, "you" are an expert in judging its quality. If well written, the most complicated material can be brought down to bite-sized chunks that are understandable.
References in periodicals archive ?
A technical writer is responsible for writing any type of document as required by the client.
If you want to be a technical writer (and even if you do not), some post-high school education is strongly recommended.
Technical writers (employed primarily in the computer software industry) are employees responsible for incorporating technical information into the manuals and other documentation necessary for customers using the product.
Because an effective technical document, manual, or help menu is often the result of successful collaboration between the technical writer and the engineer or the technical writing group and the engineering team,.
DAVID OWENS is a senior technical writer at Blackbaud, in Charleston, SC, where he uses single sourcing to create user guides and online information in a variety of formats.
Throughout The practical technical writer, Keller focuses on how we should maintain familiarity with our audience and write specifically for them.
The portable technical writer boasts a "lean blunt style that directly tells students what they need to know to understand the subject and do the assignments" (p.
If you've never hired a technical writer, what would you look for?
If you are a freelance technical writer who wants to make more money, read the Freelance writers' guide.

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