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Whether they’re creating a manual, the help page on a website, or an annual report, technical writers are always in demand. If a company has a product or service of any kind, and needs to explain it to the public, it needs technical writers.
“If they’re not experts at everything, they still need to be expert technical writers,” says Scott H., president of a marketing and PR agency in Southern California. “This means learning how to do quick but in-depth research. It’s crucial to get up to speed quickly, no matter what you’re writing about.”
Most technical writers are college graduates, sometimes with a major in a technical field, but their degrees are more typically in literature, advertising or journalism. The work environment can be very fast-paced, so a high value is placed on experience in writing, as well as familiarity with the fields being written about.
According to Scott, there is only one operating speed for a full-time writer, “and that’s full speed ahead. You’re never finished, really, since you have so many things going at once. Even when one project is done, there are others at various stages.” A writer at his agency might finish up a news release for one client, be in the middle of writing brochure copy for another, while making yet another set of “final changes” to a radio spot. “There is a lot to juggle,” he says, “and you need to switch gears seamlessly to keep from dropping things.”