How to Become a Technical Author

Technical Authors are professionals who have strong skills in writing and a technical background such as: computer science, engineering or web design.

Their work encompasses multidisciplinary fields to create works such as instruction manuals, journal articles or other print material to make technical topics easier to read and understand.

As a whole, individuals who want to become a Technical Author can expect to enter a healthy profession because of the growth and improvements in technology and electronics.

This growth is expected to affect individuals who are knowledgeable in the technological field who also have the ability to write technical information in a manner that is easily understood.

Education Requirements to Become a Technical Author

The minimal educational requirement to become a Technical Author is a bachelor’s degree.

An understanding in a technical field such as engineering, computer science or web design is highly encouraged.

In addition, individuals also have the option to seek certification to show they are competent.

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Although not a requirement, a certification as a Technical Author can show potential employers that a candidate is knowledgeable in the field.

Many organizations that employ Technical Authors look for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree in English, communications or journalism.

Individuals must also have an in depth understanding of a technical topic such as web design, engineering, computer science or medicine.

Individuals may also pursue a degree in these fields to gain an understanding in a technical subject.

An individual may also seek a path to secure a double major in both writing and a technical subject as another option.

For example, an individual can pursue a double major in English and Computer Science or Communications and Engineering.

Or a related combination to show employers they have the skills to write technical information.

Individuals who want to become a Technical Author also have the option to enter an entry level position such as a research assistant or a specialist in a technical field.

In fact, many individuals pursue this path after graduating with a technical degree.

During their training as a research assistant or a specialist, individuals will gain an understanding of how to communicate using technical words and phrases.

Finally, individuals have the option to seek certification to show their knowledge and proficiency in the field.

The Society for Technical Information is a professional association that administers testing for the Certified Professional Technical Author certification.

Individuals may visit: STC for more information on the association or testing information.

Individuals with a technical background in medicine will learn more information about certification by joining a professional association through the American Medical Writers Association.

Individuals may visit AMWA for more information.

Technical Author Job Description

Technical Authors use their background in a technical field, such as computer science, and their experience in writing to convert complex technical information into material that is easier to understand.

This conversion is then used to create several kinds of written content for a general audience.

The types of written content can include: journals, instruction manuals, operating instructions, assembly instructions, how to manuals or frequently asked questions.

Technical Authors will start by determining the needs of individuals who will be reading the finished material.

They will observe product samples and discuss a product with designers and developers to understand its purpose and organize the information gathered to write accompanying texts for the finished product.

In addition, Technical Authors will create diagrams, drawings or other visuals to further aid the instructions that come with a product.

Technical Author Salary and Career Path

The 2012 annual median wage for Technical Authors was approximately $65,500.

Exact wages will depend on level of experience as well as the industry an individual works in.

For example, individuals working in Information earn higher wages with a median annual income of approximately $70,460 while those working in manufacturing can expect a median annual wage of approximately $64,170.

Technical Authors earning at the bottom ten percent can expect an annual salary of $38,700.

Technical Authors can also expect to work a variety of shifts, depending on the company they work for.

Evening and weekend hours may be common for some industries because of the differing time zones or the need to meet strict deadlines.

Employment opportunities for Technical Authors are expected to increase by 15 percent through the year 2022, a rate considered faster than average when compared to all occupations.

This growth is attributed to the continued success of technical goods as well as product support for web based products.

Individuals interested in a career as a Technical Author can be assured that they will have opportunities by entering this field.

Not only is this a growing profession, individuals will be challenged to continually keep up to date with the new technologies.

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