What You Need To Know About Being A Technical Writer

Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. That changed when I became a technical writer. Once I learned how to communicate effectively with developers and team members, my career changed for the better. In this post, we’ll go over some tips on how you can improve your technical writing skills while keeping them fun to read!

How to get started as a Technical Writer – YouTube
Understand the role of a technical writer
Develop strong writing and communication skills
Gain expertise in technical subjects
Adapt content for target audiences
Learn industry tools and documentation standards
Explore various industries for opportunities
Continuous learning and skill improvement
Network with professionals in the field

Having A Passion For Writing Is Not Enough

If you’re thinking about becoming a technical writer, it’s important to understand the role and what’s involved. A technical writer writes documents that explain how products work or how to use them. They also write reference materials that are used by other people who work in the same field of technology.

Technical writers often specialize in specific areas such as software or hardware documentation, instructional manuals for software or hardware use, user guides for products such as websites or automated systems, help files for computer programs and games the list goes on! 

Technical writers must have strong writing skills as well as thorough knowledge about their subject matter; this includes being able to answer questions from colleagues/users who may not have all the answers themselves (i.e., “How do I…?”).

Embarking on a journey to establish a fulfilling career as a technical writer? Discover actionable insights and strategies in our guide on building a technical writing career that brings both satisfaction and success.

Technical Writers Are Part Of The Team

You are a team member. You are not someone who tells the team what to do; you help them communicate with each other and their customers.

You’re not in charge of the project and you don’t have any more authority than anyone else on the team, but you do have specific responsibilities that can make a huge difference in your company’s success.

You Can’t Be Too Technical

As a technical writer, your job is to communicate technical concepts as clearly and concisely as possible. You’ll be working with people from all different career backgrounds from programmers to graphic designers to data scientists and you need to be able to understand their needs to effectively write for them.

This means that you can’t just write about things like “the product” or “the company.” Instead, you need to take a step back and analyze what the technology does (and how). 

If it’s unclear what those details mean or how they work together, then it will be just as unclear for users who haven’t studied computer science since college. 

This can lead people into making bad decisions or buying products they may not need! That’s why every part of our documentation must make sense even if we don’t fully understand all its parts ourselves!

Curious about the daily experiences of a technical writer? Gain firsthand insights into the profession and its challenges in our article exploring what it’s like to be a technical writer, shedding light on the intricacies of this dynamic field.

Be Curious And Be Willing To Ask Questions

Being a tech writer means you’ll be dealing with a lot of people who know more than you do. If you’re not asking questions, then how will you learn?

One reason to ask questions is to learn more about the person asking them but another reason is that by doing so, you can often help them get what they need. 

For example, if someone asks what a certain feature does and it sounds foreign to your ears (or it doesn’t make sense), chances are good that other people might have experienced similar confusion about that feature too. 

By clarifying something for a person, even if only in your mind as part of your understanding of their inquiry, you could potentially clear up confusion for everybody else who has ever asked the question before!

Another way asking questions helps us all is when we’re able to identify gaps in our knowledge: What’s missing from my understanding here? How am I misunderstanding this? Why do I want or need this information?

Challenge The Status Quo

Being a technical writer means that your job is to help make other people’s jobs easier. You’re the one who makes sure everyone else’s work is understandable, clear, and concise for the rest of the team. So if something seems off to you if your co-worker’s document seems confusing or hard to read then it might be worth asking them why they wrote it that way.

If you don’t feel comfortable challenging someone with superior status in your company (or even if you do), there are many ways around this problem. For example:

If someone asks for feedback on their writing, give it! Try not to beat around the bush; just tell them what you think could be improved upon in their document or how it could be made more accessible for users (and then explain why). 

Or ask questions about why certain decisions were made by asking things like “What kind of audience are we targeting with this piece?” or “Why did we choose this font over another option?”

Aspiring to elevate your technical writing skills to new heights? Dive into our comprehensive list of 15 ways to become a better technical writer, where you’ll find practical strategies and tips to refine your craft.

Know Your Audience

As a technical writer, you are the voice of your audience. You write for people who want to learn about the subject matter but may not be experts in it. This means that you need to know who they are and what they need before you start writing. 

What’s their background? Are they business people or scientists? Do they have any experience with this subject matter? What are their communication styles and learning preferences?

It can also help if you consider who your audience isn’t: other technical writers! While reading through drafts or even final versions of your work can help you catch mistakes, it’s important not to rely on this as a crutch when writing for an intended audience who will read what you wrote without any editorial assistance from other writers (or anyone else).

Slow, But Consistent Wins The Race

Sticking to any kind of schedule can be difficult, but it’s the most important part of getting your writing done. You don’t have to be perfect, just consistent. This is especially true for technical writers who are also learning new skills and knowledge on the job. 

Don’t worry about making mistakes you will learn from them! And don’t be afraid of asking for help when you need it; there’s nothing wrong with asking a colleague or manager if they could take a look at your introduction paragraph one last time before sending it off to the client. Remember: slow and steady wins the race!

Don’t Be Afraid To Collaborate And Help Others

As a technical writer, you’ll often find yourself in situations where you need to work with other people. Your ability to collaborate will not only make your job easier, but it will also help those around you.

One way to collaborate is by helping others with their projects. This can be as simple as proofreading someone else’s writing or giving constructive feedback on their design. These things don’t take much time and they’re very easy ways of helping out a colleague or coworker.

You should also be open about asking for help when you need it if someone has more experience than you in some area of the project and they offer their expertise, take them up on it! They might even teach you something new that could change the way that you do things or allow you to work faster at tasks in the future.

Success in the realm of technical writing requires a blend of expertise and effective strategies. Explore our guide featuring 9 tips from a career pro on how to thrive in this competitive field and make your mark.

Take Advantage Of Opportunities Offered To You

  • Take advantage of the opportunities offered to you.
  • Be proactive, not reactive.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’s perfectly acceptable if someone isn’t an expert in the area where you’re stuck, as long as they know where to look for answers and are willing to do some research on your behalf.

Don’t be afraid to fail! Failure is a natural part of the learning process, and even if what you’re doing doesn’t work out exactly how you imagined it would, there will still be something worth keeping from the experience that could potentially benefit future projects and that’s more than worth keeping!

Don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion (or raise). If there’s ever been a time where someone at your company was promoted before they were ready or deserved one based on their skills alone without being granted any other perks (like additional responsibilities).

Then I am truly sorry because I’ve been there too and so have many others around us who felt like they could never get ahead because someone else had gotten “the good stuff” yet again while our hard work went unnoticed by higher-ups who didn’t even bother looking our way when making decisions about promotions (or raises).

Failing Is Inevitable, But Learn From It

Failing is inevitable. Everyone fails in some way, shape, or form. It’s a part of life and it’s not a bad thing! Failure can be super helpful because it allows you to learn something new or find out what doesn’t work for you. No one is great at everything they do right off the bat—it takes time to get good at anything in life, including writing technical documents.

If failure happens, don’t stress about it too much; take solace in knowing that your job is probably harder than most people would expect (and if someone tells you otherwise, then feel free to laugh them off as ignorant).

Learn how to communicate effectively with developers

You are not a developer, and you will never be a developer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to communicate with them effectively. If you want to be successful in your career as a technical writer, you must learn how to communicate well with developers (and other potential stakeholders).

Developers are busy people. They have a lot on their plate a lot of projects going on at once and they tend to think differently than most technical writers do. For example:

Developers are more interested in the big picture than they are in the details; whereas technical writers tend to focus more on the details since they’re responsible for making sure all of those details get taken care of before any actual work gets done.*

Developers aren’t necessarily concerned about why something works or doesn’t work; they’re usually just interested in knowing how something works or doesn’t work so they can fix it themselves.*

If you’re considering a venture into the world of technical writing, our comprehensive guide on how to get started in technical writing is your roadmap to entering this profession with confidence and setting a strong foundation for your career.


Whether you’re just starting or have been in the field for a while, these tips will help you become a better technical writer. At the end of the day, communication is key. You should know how to write, concisely, and accurately even if it means that you need to slow down and take your time with something new!

Further Reading

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the world of technical writing, consider exploring these additional resources:

Indeed Career Advice: How to Become a Technical Writer – A comprehensive guide on the steps and skills required to embark on a successful career as a technical writer.

FreeCodeCamp: How to Become a Technical Writer – A valuable resource offering insights into the technical writing field, including tips for building a portfolio and advancing your skills.

Everything Technical Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Technical Writing – A thorough overview of the essentials of technical writing, from industry insights to practical advice.


What is technical writing?

Technical writing involves creating clear, concise, and informative content to communicate complex information to a specific audience.

What skills are essential for a technical writer?

Key skills for a technical writer include strong writing abilities, understanding of technical concepts, research proficiency, and effective communication.

How do I start a career in technical writing?

To kickstart your career in technical writing, focus on building a portfolio, refining your writing skills, and gaining familiarity with industry tools and standards.

What industries can I work in as a technical writer?

Technical writers are needed across various industries such as technology, healthcare, engineering, software development, and more.

How can I improve my technical writing skills?

Continuous improvement is key. Practice writing different types of technical content, seek feedback, stay updated on industry trends, and refine your ability to simplify complex topics.