Writing as a Career?: Interview With a Technical Writer

Hello fellow writers and career searchers,

Since my senior year started, I’ve been thinking about career paths and consequently have been networking with various adults to learn about their different jobs. Just as I use these job descriptions to refine my career interests, I thought some of my student followers or those searching for careers could benefit too. So, I’m introducing a new blog segment called “Interview with a…”, where I report job descriptions acquired from these career professionals.

What better way to kick off a writing blog’s interview segment than by interviewing a writer? Today’s interview post is an interview with a technical writer.

Interview With a Technical Writer

Q: What’s technical writing all about?

A: Writing up technical instructions and manual booklets for a company or manufacturer’s product.

 

Q: What kind of companies do you write the instructions for?

A: Any company. We even write instructions for that products like that right there.*pointing to my fireplace* Sometimes we get sent a model or pieces to the device and have to  assemble it from scratch so we can  describe the process in manual booklets. Sometimes we interview the manufacturer and they show us how it’s done. We write the manual off of that.

 

Q: Favourite part of the job?

A: I’d tell you but I actually don’t currently work as a technical writer.

 

Q: That means technical writers develop many transferable skills for other careers then. Which skill helped you grab the job you have now?

A: Being good with computers and word processing. And patience. I’m good at communicating and explaining things.

 

Q: Any moral/social/economic conflicts surrounding the profession?

A: Not really. I guess social conflict because if you’re not precise in your instructions, you could get a lot of angry costumers and therefore angry employers. So, say a kettle manufacturer hires a technical writer who forgets to include “HOT” cautions in their manual. Then, a kettle-buyer grabs the boiling kettle by the metal part, burns them self and sues the manufacturer for failing to warn of the danger. Now you’ve got an angry client plus the angry manufacturer/employer because your mistake is costing them money. Then there’s also crazy copyright restrictions on our manuals; we’ve got to make sure that no diagrams or illustrations have been used in another company’s work.

 

Q: Any advice for people looking to join the field?

A: If you’re a great writer, precise in your work and can  translate complex, fancy talk into simpler language, you’ll be good in this career.

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