- Spend your time writing and creating technical documents on a subject you have knowledge about
- You'll need excellent writing skills, accuracy, and attention to detail
- Work for yourself, managing your own time, or for an organisation
Technical authors produce written or multimedia documents and guides using their technical knowledge of a subject. They usually have experience in the subjects they are going to write about, like science, computing, manufacturing, engineering, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, banking, or insurance.
- Collecting and editing complex information
- Producing new documents like manuals and instructions
- Updating or rewriting existing documents
- Commissioning photographs or illustrations
- Working on digital or multi-channel content like blogs, e-learning or podcasts
- Testing what you've written with content users
Many technical authors work for themselves as freelancers and you may spend part or all of your time working from home.
There are no set entry requirements, but employers will expect you to have industry knowledge and experience of writing and editing in their sector. A qualification in a subject relevant to the sector you'll be writing for may help you gain work.
You'll need excellent writing skills, accuracy and attention to detail, and the ability to structure information logically. You'll also need to show you can research and interpret complex information and communicate it clearly.
You'll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject like science, computing, journalism, engineering, telecommunications, or pharmaceuticals. You can also do technical communication and writing courses at postgraduate level.
You'll also need to develop your knowledge of content planning (strategy), writing to brand style or other guidelines, user behaviour (how people read and absorb information), and project management. Taking a course to help you gain these skills may help you get work. The Institute of Science and Technical Communicators has short courses that could help you get started.
With experience, you could become a technical author for a larger organisation, or move into technical editing, where you'd oversee the production of technical documents.