Media / Digital Media
Technical or Scientific Writer
Technical or scientific writers prepare and write journal articles, government proposals, instruction manuals and other technical documents.
What does a Technical or Scientific Writer do?
Technical or scientific writers prepare and author journal articles, government proposals, instruction manuals and other technical documents, using user-friendly text and terminology to communicate complex and technical information more easily.
As a technical or scientific writer, you would:
- determine the needs of users of the required documentation
- talk with technical staff to understand how products work
- decide on the appropriate hardcopy, video, e-learning or online media for documentation
- produce and organise document content
- use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts to make text user friendly and easily understood
- edit text and standardise documents across media
- update existing manuals and documents as required
- research and organise complex scientific information
- use suitable terminology to explain complex ideas or issues in simple terms
- trial materials with user groups and gather feedback
- adjust materials as necessary to improve content and understanding.
Key skills and interests
To become a technical or scientific writer, you would need:
- a high level of accuracy
- the ability to explain technical concepts in non-technical language
- a concise and simple writing style
- excellent research and analysis skills
- good time management and the ability to meet deadlines
- a methodical and logical approach to organising information.
Working hours and conditions
As a technical or scientific writer, you would usually work a standard number of hours per week. If self-employed, you may work hours that suit you within the required time frame of a project.
As a self-employed or freelance writer, you would usually work from home. If employed by a business you would be based in an office. You would spend most of your time sitting at and using a computer.
How to become an Technical or Scientific Writer?
Entry Level Education
No formal qualifications are required to become a technical writer. Skills may be developed through practice and experience. Many technical writing jobs require both a degree and knowledge in a specialised field, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine.
Your employment prospects may be improved if you have some associated formal training, such as a VET qualification in mass communication, journalism or professional writing and editing, or a bachelor's degree in a related area. Entry to these courses usually requires you to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English would be an appropriate subject to study prior to tertiary education.
Employment of technical writers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment growth will be driven by the continuing expansion of scientific and technical products and by growth in web-based product support. Job opportunities, especially for applicants with combined technical and writing skills, are expected to be good.