Friday, December 19, 2008

What Technical Writers Do

Sometime during my college graduation, my grandmother looked at the list of graduates in the graduation program and found my name under the list of professional writers receiving their bachelors degree. "He went to school to become a writer? What's he going to do with that?" She asked my dad as if suddenly she wished she was some place else. I saw this developing from the time I realized my degree was named BS of professional writing.

Once the ceremony was over, I explained to grandma what a technical writer does. I think she has a lot more respect for my degree.

Technical writers provide a variety of services. We are computer programmers, Web designers, computer help authors, desktop publishers, technical manual writers, and I could go on and on. Our basic job is to take complex thoughts and present them in organized and simplified instructive documents. Now you know what a technical writer is, just think of all the ways that a technical writer has helped you out.

Since I graduated from college, I have designed advertisements, trade show brochures, computer help systems, Web sites, software demonstration CDs, technical white papers, knowledge base articles, a corporate style guide, and software design kit (SDK). As you can see, technical writers possess a variety of skills that are essential to corporations.

Technical writers often are full-time employees, and we provide freelance services. I do both.

I hope this offers insight to what it is that technical writers do.

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