1. Written Communication
First and foremost, a technical writer is a writer. If you're going to excel in these roles, you need exceptional written communication skills. The ability to convey complex topics in an easy to understand way is essential. Similarly, the ability to establish a logical flow, select the ideal words or phrases, and create a strong document structure are all part of the equation.
2. Authoring Tools
Authoring tools are becoming increasingly common. Technical writers who have knowledge of how these solutions work and can use them effectively are often viewed as more valuable than their less familiar counterparts.
You need to be comfortable with research if you are going to be a great technical writer. You want to confirm that what you are writing is accurate and complete, so performing a bit of due diligence and researching various facts is often essential. Otherwise, the end document might not be correct.
Creating effective technical documentation requires planning. Otherwise, user guides and similar projects can be hard to organize, leading to a complex and confusing document that is difficult to use. With planning skills, you can create a logical structure in advance, ensuring the end result is cohesive and user-friendly.
Even if you are the only technical writer working on a project, you need to have solid collaboration skills. Often, you’ll need to discuss details with other professionals or departments, ensuring everyone is on the same page and that critical information is shared appropriately. Plus, it’s common for technical writers to need to ask creators questions to gain clarity about how the product works. Without collaboration, mistakes are more likely to occur, so being effective in this skill is vital to your success.
When you create technical documentation, you aren’t writing it for yourself. Instead, you need to communicate information to a specific customer or end-user, and empathy can help you do that better. Essentially, you need the ability to understand who the audience is and to put yourself in their shoes. That way, you can create documentation that speaks to them, making it more effective and user-friendly.
As a technical writer, the ability to make sound judgments is a must. You are responsible for organizing a lot of information into something meaningful and helpful. Often, this involves collecting details and then making choices regarding how to effectively discuss them. With critical-thinking skills, you are best equipped to make the ideal decision for the situation.
8. Web Design Basics
Technical documentation is often put online. By understanding various web design basics, you can make choices that align with the online landscape and user experience. This could include formatting, color schemes, layout, navigation, and other decisions that impact usability and the appearance of the documentation when it is published online.
Learn More About the Skills That Make a Technical Writer Great
If you’d like to learn more about the skills that make a technical writer great, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact usto speak with a member of our experienced staff today and see how our technical writing career expertise can benefit you.