Everything You Need to Write a Technical Writer Job Description

May 6, 2019
Written by Bailey Reiners

There's not an industry today that doesn't involve tech. Not everyone, however, has a technical background. This gap between industries and their customers/clients/users poses a challenge for companies to provide quality experiences for non-technical individuals. 

Technical Writers have the expertise to understand and communicate the technical aspects of a digital product to both highly technical and non-technical users. In a way, they act as a translator, providing users with the information that will resonate best with them based on their background. 

To help you find your next Technical Writer, we've created this guide that defines what technical writers do, includes five real real job description examples as well as a template and covers salary information. Feel free to jump ahead with the links below.

Table of Contents

 

What Does A Technical Writer Do?

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A Technical Writer creates documentation and education materials to boost user experience on a digital platform. Such documentation may come in the form of user guides, integration guides, API developer guides, in-platform instructions, installation/configuration instructions and system operations.

Technical Writers typically have a Bachelor’s degree in English, Communication, Journalism, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Technical Writing, Teaching, Curriculum Development or Scientific Publication or the equivalent in professional experience. Typically, Technical Writer candidates also have a few years professional experience in one of those fields.

In order to efficiently communicate with a variety of users, Technical Writers need to be experts at writing for both technical and non-technical audiences. They’re also responsible for continuously editing and revising content to ensure users have the best possible experience with a changing digital product.

It’s crucial that Technical Writers have background knowledge of technical platforms and languages. You can expect top candidates will have knowledge of...

Coding & Scripting Languages

Documentation Publishing Software

Analytics Platforms

 

 

Five Technical Writer Job Description Examples

Now we're going to build upon the previous section with five Technical Writer job descriptions from real companies. To protect the privacy of these companies, you'll notice we've redacted some information.

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Technical Writer Job Description: Example 1

We are looking for a talented technical writer to help create and build out a modern documentation and user assistance infrastructure. You will be a core part of the product management team working closely with engineering, product marketing, and customer enablement to create resources that don’t just document what the product does, but accelerates a user from novice to power user. Customer performance is critical to [redacted] and the tools you will build will create a powerful impact on adoption.

Requirements

  • Work with product managers, product marketing, and engineers to produce and maintain world-class documentation, including: User Guides, Integration Guides, API Developer Guides, In platform documentation (tooltips, welcome instructions, etc.).

  • Build and maintain client aids that go beyond traditional documentation, such as online video, demos, guided tours, and other educational techniques.

  • Learn complex concepts, and communicate the information in a way that is engaging and understood by users.

  • Gather customer feedback on documentation to improve usability.

  • Act as an editor to ensure consistency in training documentation across [redacted].

  • Monitor metrics on the usage of training materials as well as direct customer feedback to prioritize future training investments.

Responsibilities

  • 3+ years of technical writing experience.

  • SaaS experience is preferred [redacted].

  • Strong written and verbal communications and experience working with content in multiple mediums.

  • Experience working cross-departmentally to communicate the nuts and bolts of a product.

  • Strong experience owning an end-to-end documentation creation process.

  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and work on multiple projects in a fast-paced, changing environment.

  • A positive attitude, willing to jump in and tackle new challenges.

  • Experience working with the following tools preferred: Confluence/JIRA, Git & Github, HTML, CSS, Jinja, JavaScript, Python, Intercom, Mixpanel.

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Technical Writer Job Description: Example 2

As a Senior Technical Writer, you will write accurate, engaging, user-friendly documentation that adheres to [redacted]'s style guidelines. You may also write documentation used by external developers [redacted]. The Senior Technical Writer works under general direction of managers and senior team members.

Responsibilities

  • Oversee team collaboration with Development, QA, Product Management, and other groups to plan, research, write, and revise printed and online documentation, including general overviews, tutorials, installation/configuration instructions, training class materials, and API documentation.

  • Collaborate with other writers to document [redacted]'s e-discovery products.

  • Write for a variety of audiences, from non-technical end users to programmers, system administrators, and integrators.

  • Establish team policies and procedures, conforming to existing styles, policies, and procedures.

  • Oversee peer editing and production review work.

  • Integrate use case and functional data into user documentation and examples.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Strong writing, production, and technical editing skills.

  • Very strong analytical skills and ability to operate in a fast-paced environment with evolving project requirements and priorities.

  • BA/BS in Technical Communication or related discipline, or at least five years of experience in writing complex documentation for web-based software.

  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills, including willingness and ability to consult with subject matter experts from engineering, support, and product management.

  • Portfolio of work and/or writing samples.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A familiarity with API documentation for REST or. NET APIs.

  • A familiarity with working and experimenting with code samples to better understand the needs of API consumers.

  • Excellent knowledge of MadCap Flare.

  • Attention to detail with a creative eye.

  • Ability to efficiently and thoroughly address feedback on published content from both customers and internal support representatives.

  • Passionate about learning and developing.

  • Enjoys working as part of a team in a collaborative environment.

  • Exposure to documentation publishing software (MadCap, RoboHelp, Wiki-based).

  • Exposure to tech comm programs.

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Technical Writer Job Description: Example 3

The Sr. Technical Writer will consult with engineering and technical staff to prepare technical and end user documentation for software. Additionally, you’ll develop and promote the adoption of documentation templates for system, database, and program information. This role will function as a primary writer—responsible for deliverables of substantial scope and complexity.

What you’ll do as a Sr. Technical Writer:

  • Prepare, review, revise, and maintain technical documents, including software and systems engineering, system operations, testing, and user documentation.

  • Gather and analyze technical and product information from various sources to document new or changing product functionality.

  • Write, format, edit, review, and proof procedural and technical information for technical and nontechnical users.

  • Assist in planning, scheduling, and tracking documentation work to meet product release dates and client deliverables.

  • Maintain a library of application documentation, cataloging it for internal and/or external use.

  • Publish and maintain templates for written documentation produced by others (technical specifications, RFP responses, etc.), ensuring a consistent "look and feel."

What skills you will use:

  • Bachelor's Degree, preferably in a technical field such as computer science or a focus on English, writing, or communications.

  • 5-7 years of experience required in an IT development environment.

  • Experience in creating documentation for audiences with different levels of technical skill.

  • Excellent writing, editing, and communication skills.

  • Ability to read some programming code.

  • Experience in presenting technical information in a live setting, such as classroom training, presentations, or video conference.

 

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Technical Writer Job Description: Example 4

We're looking for a Technical Writer to author, edit, and review product documentation. In this role, you’ll work with internal resources, interview software developers, and attend engineering meetings to gather, write, and publish technical information for our varied audiences. You’ll produce a variety of top quality learning materials such as technical documentation, infographics, screenshot markups, and training videos.

As a successful Technical Writer at [redacted], you’re motivated, passionate, and thrive in the fast-paced culture of a dynamic and evolving startup company. You have strong writing skills, the ability to synthesize technical content from an SME and create training materials that clearly explain the topic/task to end users based on their persona. We like to move quickly and win together, so a self-starter who thrives under pressure and enjoys team successes.

What you’ll do:

  • Maintain our internal documentation ticketing system, solving issues presented by customers and internal consumers.

  • Create in-depth user guides, FAQs, technical overviews, and in-product help documentation.

  • Test both the product and its documentation for accuracy and consistency.

  • Adapt rapidly to a changing industry and be able to adjust responsibilities, time, and objectives accordingly.

  • Identify problem areas or structural deficiencies and proactively contribute to their improvement.

  • Regular use of a content management system (CMS) to manage the lifecycle of technical documentation including draft, review, and publish phases.

  • Become a subject matter expert of the [redacted] platform and how the different tools are used to perform various construction related tasks.

  • Regular communication and synchronization with the Director of Documentation and Certification.

What we’re looking for:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in English, Communication, or Journalism.

  • 2-5 years experience working as a Technical Writer or in related job role.

  • Ability to analyze and synthesize complex content.

  • Strong technical aptitude–ability to quickly learn new concepts and tools.

  • Excellent writing and proofreading skills.

  • Ability to write clearly and succinctly for multiple audiences using either formal or more casual tones.

  • Excellent work ethic and strong intellectual curiosity.

  • Ability to work quickly, efficiently, and multi-task.

  • Desire and ability to innovate and improve upon current processes.

  • Experience creating infographics to more clearly communicate workflow processes and abstract topics.

  • Track record of effective collaboration.

Bonus skills - these are not required, but are a plus:

  • Experience working in a technical startup company, preferably a SaaS company.

  • Experience working with Agile/Scrum software development teams.

  • Experience writing content for software applications using a CMS.

  • Experience working with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) both in-person and remote.

  • Experience in prioritizing and understanding the lifecycle of documentation from pre-release through on-going maintenance.

  • Experience creating infographics such as diagrams, screenshots, workflows, graphs, etc.

 

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Technical Writer Job Description: Example 5

The ideal candidate has technical chops, demonstrably strong communication and writing skills, and can effectively interact with other writers, software developers, data scientists, product managers, and project leads. You must be equally comfortable arguing the Oxford comma (include, of course), UI consistency, and confusion matrices. We are looking for writers with experience making complex ideas understandable and are open to candidates with a background in software engineering, technical writing, or the world of teaching, curriculum development, or scientific publication.

Responsibilities

  • Produce high-quality documentation for web-based applications.

  • Publish weekly Release Notes for our Cloud-delivered software for delivery to a broad group of internal and external partners.

  • Produce how-tos, tutorials, user guides, and knowledge base content.

  • Write software documentation from technical specifications, discussions with developers, and hands-on experimentation.

  • Contribute to doc standards, including participating in peer editing.

  • Update existing docs to reflect changes to functionality.

  • Edit existing developer-written content in preparation for publication.

Main Requirements

  • Excellent, clear, clean, accessible writing; obsessive eye for consistency and technical accuracy.

  • Proven experience producing technical content for public consumption.

  • Laser focus on--and commitment to-- deadlines.

  • Ability to thrive, without much oversight, in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment.

  • Ability to manage multiple writing assignments simultaneously.

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 3 years professional work experience in technical documentation.

  • Experience with source control systems and workflow tools--Git, JIRA/Confluence.

  • A proactive and open-minded attitude to resolving problems and delivering results.

Desired Skills

  • Experience with machine learning or data science preferable but not a strict requirement.

  • Experience with localization workflows.

  • Experience with Markdown and documentation workflows.

Technical Writer Job Description Template

Now we're getting to the best part — the Technical Writer job description template. Please take this template and customize it to better reflect your specific role and the personality of your team. 

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Company Bio

[Use this section to provide a high level overview of your company, culture, perks and benefits, career development opportunities and anything else that will get candidates excited about your company.]

Responsibilities

 

  • Create exceptional documentation in the form of user guides, integration guides, API developer guides, in-platform instructions, installation/configuration instructions and system operations.

  • Create client resources and educational materials, including videos, demos, tutorials, training materials, guided tours, general & technical overview and FAQs.

  • Research, write, edit and revise content that is both engaging and accessible to user personas with both non-technical and technical backgrounds.

  • Publish weekly release notes to internal and external stakeholders with information on product updates, releases and fixes.

  • Edit other writers' content and documentation for consistency and continuously update content with current information.

  • Maintain tracking and ticketing system to ensure deadlines are met and client deliverables and received on time.

  • Test products for issues, provide insight to resolving problems and ensure documentation is accurate and consistent.

  • Collaborate with internal teams, including Development, Engineering, Quality Analysis, Product Management, Product Marketing and Customer Enablement.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in experience in English, Communication, Journalism, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Technical Writing, Teaching, Curriculum Development or Scientific Publication.

  • X years experience in technical writing.

  • Strong communications skills, including written, verbal and presentation.

  • Ability to communicate complex technical topics to non-technical stakeholders both internally and externally.

  • Experiencing with coding languages, including [insert coding languages].

  • Experience using API documentation.

  • Experience with documentation publishing software.

  • Preferred: Prior experience working within IT Development, SaaS or web-based technology environment.

 

Technical Writer Salary Information

We're ending with salary information because every job description should include compensation information. Doing so helps candidates determine if this role suits their experience and financial needs before they invest in the application process.

Below are the average Technical Writer salaries from seven major hiring markets in the US. To further your research, click on the links below. 

Cross Market Average Salary for a Technical Writer: $74,766

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