Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Technical writers create documentation for a technology. Their responsibility, like graphic designers', is to effectively communicate a message. Technical writers are responsible for writing text that is helpful to its intended audience, accurate, readable, and accessible.
Technical writing, a subset of technical communication, is used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, consumer electronics, and biotechnology.
At the beginning of a project, the technical writer identifies the audience for the documentation. For example, a writer might be documenting a VCR for a nontechnical American of average literacy who needs to know how to set the time and tape television shows, or for a technician who must diagnose, repair, or replace internal components.
Technical writers often have a degree in English, technical writing, the technical field for which they are writing, or a combination of these. It is most important that they have enough expertise to understand their audience's background and needs. For example, writers who develop documentation for software APIs, microcontroller operation, and other technical subjects are often paid more than those who write guides for a nontechnical audience (for example, how to use email), because it is difficult to find good writers with advanced technical knowledge.
Technical writing is most often associated with online Help and user manuals; however, there are other forms of technical content created by technical writers, including:
- White papers
- User guides
- Reference documents
- Training materials
- Online Help
- Magazine articles
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