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all about technical writer jobs

Technical writing is a specialized form of writing. It involves writing about a specific and often technical subject matter with the goal of providing direction, explanation or instructions. In most instances, it involves writing instruction manuals, guides, and user manuals. Technical writers need to be able to explain complex and detailed concepts in clear terms to create understanding, making it a very different type of writing.

In addition to writing, part of your job as a technical writer will involve research and development, fact checking, interviewing and working with customers, product designers and manufacturers to assemble required information. 

what technical writer jobs entail

Most technical writers work in an office environment. Technical writers often work with product engineers, tech experts and marketers and can report to a project manager, marketing manager, or IT leader. In most cases, technical writers work directly for the company they are writing for, however, many also work remotely, or on a freelance basis.

average technical writer salaries

The average annual salary for technical writers in Canada hovers around $65,000. You can expect an entry-level technical writer position to net you a salary of $45,000 or more, depending on where you live. With experience, you can expect to make up to $90,000 or more. Factors that will impact your earning potential include your level of education, experience, and specialized technical writing skills.

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your day to day tasks

A typical day will vary based on the type of project you are working on and the writing phase you are currently in. Some of the day-to-day tasks you can expect include:

  • working with technical staff to understand products
  • research and collecting materials for the writing process
  • general administrative tasks
  • working with product samples
  • writing drafts, revisions and editing
  • gathering feedback
  • updating documents with new information
  • post production support for customer service

where you can work

Technical writers commonly work for large companies in need of technical and user manuals for their products and services. Technical writing jobs are most commonly found in areas where information technology and research companies are present. Most technical writing positions are found in the sciences and technical services industry as well as manufacturing, administration, and information technology. 

technical writer jobs in canada

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what you bring to the table

Technical writers, like other types of writers, need to be skilled communicators, and experts on the subject matter they are writing about. Some desirable skills companies look for in technical writers include:

  • excellent writing and ability write in multiple styles
  • communication and research skills
  • ability to simplify complex ideas and terminology
  • ability to work independently or collaborate as needed
  • indexing, information architecture, and content management
  • detail oriented and ability to work under tight deadlines
  • ability to work with a variety of word processing and documentation programs

training and certifications

The vast majority of technical writers have a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, English or media studies. Since many technical writing positions require expert knowledge, many employers prefer you also have an educational background in the area you will be working, such as science, engineering, or technology.

While certifications are not typically a job requirement, there are a number of professional associations that offer technical writing certifications. Certifications can be more important if you operate as a freelance technical writer. In most cases, on the job training is provided by your employer regarding the products or services you will be writing about.

where your career is headed

Many technical writers begin their professional career in research or specialists in the field they're writing about. Making the move to a career as a technical writer is often a career transition phase. After a number of years working as a technical writer, many opt to move into freelancing or consulting. Many technical writers also take on more senior roles in research, development or even management.

latest technical writer jobs available

  • Content Server Reports developer - Calgary

    2018-12-06 Calgary, Alberta Temporary

    Our large enterprise Calgary client has an immediate requirement for a strong Content Server Reports developer/writer for an initial 7 month contract engagement starting in early January 2019. Required Essential Skills:  5+ years of developing and supporting business solutions building ...

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  • Web Content Writer - Edmonton

    2018-12-05 Edmonton, Alberta Temporary

    Our Edmonton based client has an immediate need for a Web Content Writer on contract for 6 months with possible extension. Top Required Skills: - Experience as an editor creating self-help content and FAQ's. - Someone who as an understanding of HTML coding and the basics. - Experience with testing ...

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