I attended the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary, AB, where I spoke with many software developers. I was surprised to find that some remain unfamiliar with the role of a Technical Writer and how they can add value to software development. I will take a moment here to go ‘back to school’ and clarify, in general, who we are and what we do…
According to Wikipedia, “A technical writer is a professional writer who engages in technical writing and produces technical documentation that helps people understand and use a product or service.” This is a broad, but succinct definition.
Technical Writers can be generalists or specialists in a wide variety of industrial sectors and may research, write, and edit any of a very long list of technical documentation, including: manuals, guides, proposals, reports, newsletters, white papers, marketing documents, web content, training materials, simulations, online help, illustrations, procedures, regulations, instructions, and much more.
Many Technical Writers are members of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). “The Society for Technical Communication is a professional association dedicated to the advancement of technical communication.”
A good Technical Writer (whether employee or contractor) is a valuable team member who will work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to produce clear, concise, and practical technical documentation that is highly relevant, accurate, and carefully targeted to a specific audience.
We may not be the highlight of career day, but our work is important. Ask your kids if they know what a Technical Writer is…
Vicky Moorman is a contract Technical Writer who specializes in providing clear and concise software user documentation, help systems, and training materials to software developers throughout Western Canada. To schedule a free consultation, call 403-770-9528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.