At a minimum, the job of a technical writer demands someone who can clearly explain complicated topics to an audience that may not have the relevant expertise. But if you want to get a job in today’s market, a knack for tight writing and an adherence to deadlines is no longer enough.
“In a competitive job market, you need to stand out.”
As technology changes and consumers find new ways to seek out information, companies are considering different ways of reaching their audiences. Here are some additional skills that technical writers may wish to work on, in addition to their writing:
- Pay attention to design: Consumers have a preponderance of devices, and they all display content in different ways. David Farbey, a fellow at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, wrote in We Localize that the rise of adaptive content will require writers to visualize how their work will look across a variety of formats and plan accordingly to deliver the best messaging strategy.
- Develop a marketing voice: Companies are leveraging their websites and social media presence to not only advertise products, but also provide steady streams of helpful information and daily use tips. Technical writers can add a great deal of value by mastering the voice necessary to deliver this content – which is often different from that which goes into technical manuals.
- Learn programming: It never hurts to have a better understanding of what you are tasked with explaining. Though you may not be asked to program yourself, an understanding of the languages being used will help you write about the subject with confidence.
Remember, in a competitive job market, you need to stand out. Companies may be asking more of their technical writers than they used to, but if you are able to deliver you can have a great career in this field.