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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Department of Labor (2012) reports the median annual salary of technical writers at $63,280 as of May 2010.
A technical writer is responsible for writing any type of document as required by the client.
Most familiar to technical writers is the content of the chapter "Selling to corporations." Here you find subsections devoted to breaking into technical writing, copyediting and proofreading, indexing, and ghost-writing.
Widmaier, senior technical writer; Tito Figueroa, senior logistician; Douglas Silverman, technical writer; Carol Kyle, technical writer; Michael Van Blarcum, provisioner; and Stanley Quamina, provisioner.
Labor categories include Project Manager, Analyst, Computer Systems Analyst, Management Analyst, Chemist, Acoustical Engineer, Computer Engineer, Design Engineer, Scientists, Training Specialist, Supervisory Technical Writer, Technical Writer, Laboratory Technician, Drafter, Illustrator and Word Processor.
As she continues her recovery, Tatum - who won an Academy Award as a child when she co-starred with her Irish-American dad Ryan in Paper Moon - has landed a comeback role in the movie, The Technical Writer.
The actress, who was once married to John McEnroe, looked as though she didn't have a care in the world as she relaxed on the set of her new film, The Technical Writer, in New York.
Garrison previously worked as a copy editor and reporter for the Warsaw Business Journal, as a technical writer for Tivoli Systems Inc.
Opperman is the account executive and lead technical writer on the Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition account.
Joyce Arthur is a freelance and technical writer from Vancouver, British Columbia.
as a technical writer developing skills and process training manuals, editing and assisting in the development of computer-based training modules for employees.
Also won an NCAA title and was an outstanding clinician, technical writer, and humanitarian.

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