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Technical author Technical copywriter, technical editor

Technical authors write documents and guides that explain how to use products and services.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but employers will expect you to have industry knowledge and experience of writing and editing in their sector.

You'll need to show you can research and interpret complex information and communicate it clearly. You'll also know about:

  • content planning (strategy)
  • writing to brand style or other guidelines
  • user behaviour (how people read and absorb information)
  • project management

A postgraduate qualification in technical publishing might be helpful.

The Institute of Science and Technical Communicators has more information about this career.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent writing skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to structure information logically

3. What you'll do

Technical authors are usually qualified or have extensive experience in areas like:

  • science
  • computing
  • manufacturing
  • engineering
  • telecommunications
  • pharmaceuticals
  • banking
  • insurance

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • collecting and editing complex information
  • producing new documents like manuals and instructions
  • updating or rewriting existing documents
  • commissioning photographs or illustrations
  • working on digital or multi-channel content like blogs, e-learning or podcasts
  • testing what you've written with content users

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000

Experienced: £30,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 or more

You'll charge by the hour, the day or by project.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes need to do extra hours to meet deadlines so this could include evenings and weekends.

You might work freelance and spend part or all of your time working from home.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a technical author for a larger organisation, or move into technical editing.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017

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