What is Technical Writing and What Do Technical Writers Do?

Mister Technical Writer
2 min readAug 1, 2023

Many people wonder, what is technical writing and what do technical writers do?

Let’s dive into this.

When you purchase a new device or software, you often find a Getting Started Guide or a Help Guide.

These are products of technical writing, and it’s a technical writer’s job to create them.

While some technical writers work with technical audiences, most technical writers aim to simplify complex information for non-technical audiences. Developers have the skills to write technical documents, but they generally prefer not to. On the other hand, non-technical end users can’t create documentation for something they’re trying to understand.

That’s where technical writers come in.

Despite this crucial role, technical writing remains largely unknown to many. This could be due to its unglamorous, behind the scenes nature, and the fact that many technical writers prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

In my experience, software is the key area for technical writing. It’s estimated that in North America, about twenty percent of all technical writers work in companies that develop software. These companies often lead in creating innovative documentation methods, and they impact technical writing in other industries.

Even companies that don’t primarily deal with software often need comprehensive documentation for deploying, customizing, or upgrading their software. Such documentation includes installation guides, user manuals, admin guides, run books, and release notes.

However, technical writing isn’t confined to software.

Industries from finance to pharmaceuticals to defense employ technical writers. There are also specialized areas like policies and procedures, disaster recovery documentation, and more.

In conclusion, technical writing is a wide and varied field that plays a critical role in making complex information accessible and understandable.

Next time you’re using a guide or a manual, you can appreciate the work of technical writers behind it.

I hope this clarifies the important work that technical writers do.

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Mister Technical Writer

Bobby B. Kennedy. Tech Writer for > 22 years. Founder, Become a Technical Writer (becometechnicalwriter.com). A hands-on, real-world technical writing course.