I love to write. I’ve always loved to write. I suppose you could call me a frustrated creative writer. How did I become a technical writer? That is for… what IS a technical writer is the real question.
A technical writer is what many prefer to call my profession, although I prefer the word “communicator.” After I explain what a technical writer is, you can decide what my job title should be.
A technical writer is someone who takes technical information (of any type) and rewrites that information for a specific group of people (called a “target audience”). Technical information could be anything from a specific genre, such as food, chemicals, electricity, to games and sports. The target audience could be anyone from the person using a new software application to a factory worker following instructions to manufacture a product, or a business executive making serious decisions for his company.
In order to meet the needs of the target audience, a technical writer needs to understand what type of language and media will best communicate to them. For example, if you are working with a software application, what would be easiest for you? To access that information by looking through a 400 page manual, or by pressing a key on your computer that displays information about the screen that you are looking at? If you are a business executive, do you want to view a CD or read a report?
A good technical writer tries to make the best decision possible to design information in a way that best communicates to their audience.
All of my friends think I’m a computer whiz because I can work so well with Word, PowerPoint, HTML and well, computers. But if you are a professional chef, you need to know all about knives and which ones are best for cutting different types of food. You probably can chop celery better than I ever will. Well, as a technical writer, Word and Power Point are important tools I have had to use (to name a few). So of course I seem like an expert in the field. Actually, I am only expert in MY use of these tools.
And so I have ended up working as a technical writer/communicator, all because, in the beginning, I just plain loved to write.