This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
When looking to start a career as a technical writer, understanding the general overview of what the job entails and how much you will be making is widely helpful. The best way to create a career that truly fits your lifestyle is to understand the demands of that career field.
This article will discuss some of the important aspects of technical writing, how it differentiates from traditional writing, and some of the pros and cons of choosing the career path.
What is technical writing?
Technical writing is a specific type of copywriting that focuses on written technical information and documentation. For example, the technical writer will write manuals, user guides, and documentation for technical devices or software users. They will also write technical training material for employees or specific technical writers.
The technical writer aims to communicate with specific audiences so they can use specialized equipment efficiently and effectively while using minimal resources possible. This usually means providing proper technical manuals for users who need guidelines to operate machinery or other technical devices not typically used in daily life. However, technical writing can also be for basic software programs used amongst employees of a business.
In recent decades, technical writing jobs have become more specialized, evolving with the technology the profession supports. The type of clients they typically service will depend on their specialization; however, they can include:
- IT Equipment and Services
- Engineering and Architectural Services
- Local and Federal Government
- Manufacturing and Supply Chain
How does being a technical writer compare to traditional writing?
Although technical writing and traditional writing are both types of content generation, the two careers can be quite different. This is because technical writers write technical manuals, while people who write traditionally work on fiction or nonfiction copywriting. In addition, technical writers usually have to work with complex resource materials that don’t rely on standard language rules or sentence structure. Because of this case, technical writers have to be very familiar with the equipment, products, or services they are writing about.
Traditional writing, on the other hand, does not require as much previous knowledge of the topic. For this reason, a person who writes traditionally can complete their writing assignment within a relatively short amount of time. For example, a traditional writer can complete a piece of copywriting in only a couple of hours, which technical writing can be extensive. Not only that, but many conventional writers often have the freedom to choose their topic. This can differ considerably from technical writing, which generally has specific guidelines concerning how documents and manuals need to be drafted.
Pros of becoming a technical writer
The idea of writing for a living can be daunting, but the benefits are many. Due to the increasing demand for technical writing skills, technical writers are often in demand and can be compensated considerably higher than traditional writers. Additionally, as technology continues to advance, technical writing jobs will continue to expand. This helps to create increased job security and creates more opportunities for career advancement when choosing to become a technical writer.
Another significant benefit of technical writing is flexibility — especially when it comes to autonomy and location. Many technical writing jobs offer remote and freelance opportunities that allow employees to work from anywhere in the world. This freedom enables writers to enjoy a more flexible schedule and can often reduce stress and increase productivity.
For technical writers, the opportunity to write about topics they are passionate about is another significant benefit. This can help keep writers engaged in what they do and offer writers the chance to learn new things in their field of expertise. Technical writing provides a level of creativity that is not often found in other professions.
Cons of becoming a technical writer
Being a technical writer can be an extremely rewarding profession, but it can certainly have its cons. Becoming a technical writer can involve working long hours in front of a computer screen, staring at technical manuals, resources, and code. Technical writers must constantly research new technologies, and the time commitment for this can be quite extensive.
The main con associated with technical writing has to do with restrictions placed on levels of creativity. Technical writing can feel cold and monotonous at times since the writing requires a particular style or format must be followed. There can also be strict guidelines and limitations on how much the writer gets to say. Technical writing, done right, is all about getting straight to the point and stating things as directly as possible. For writers looking to explore their creativity telling stories or marketing for a brand, technical writing may not be the best career path.
The benefits of becoming a technical writer are many. The freedom to work remotely, such as when you’re traveling, the ability to learn about new technologies, and advance in your career in writing are all great reasons to pursue the career path. While technical writing can be monotonous at times, it offers plenty of creative opportunities along the way with job security and remote working flexibility that many other professions will never have.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.