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Documentation writers create technical documentation that provides insightful information. These writers are reviewing charts.

Technical documentation keeps a business running smoothly. Good documentation is easy to read, well-organized, accessible, and, most importantly, comprehensive–when written properly. Paired with a technical documentation writer, a company can leverage critical information into successful business outcomes.

Technical documentation is one of the best examples of professional technical writing services because document writers are experts at documenting the highly technical aspects of products, services, and processes.

In this article, you will learn what a documentation writer is, the types of documents they write, and why they are critical assets for your business. Keep in mind that while documentation writers are technically a subset of technical writers, the terms are often used interchangeably. You’ll also learn why writing good technical documentation is important to your overall business strategy.

Who Are Documentation Writers?

Documentation writer on laptop with chart next to her

In every industry, big and small organizations use a variety of technical documents. Companies cannot operate without these manuals, guidelines, and SOPs. These documents contain the company’s essential data, which is why business operations, continuity, and success depend on the quality and effectiveness of documentation. 

Documentation writers are responsible for communicating complex information in a clear and useful manner through technical documentation. All types of technical writers simplify product functionality and oversee and maintain document management systems and processes. 

Documentation writers often obtain essential information by working alongside subject matter experts (SMEs), developers, engineers, and project managers. Documentation writer jobs are projected to grow six percent from 2021 to 2031 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Documentation writers are experienced in industries that rely on technology, like IT, medicine, marketing, and engineering.

Who Writes Technical Documentation?

Technical documentation is typically written by either a subject matter expert, a technical writer, or documentation specialists who are trained in a particular subject. Documentation writers are highly specialized pools of writers who have honed their skill sets to develop high-level technical documentation.

Best Practices

Best practices for technical writing documents include making them available live on a cloud-based repository. By using these cloud-based features, everyone involved in a team and project, including the document writer, can view, edit, and share a master document to keep track of all changes in real-time.

If you prefer to use Microsoft® Word® software instead of Google Docs, you can download from the master document and work on the file locally. Of course, you’ll have to keep note of your changes if you need to update the master file.

Documentation Writers are Fluent in All Types of Technical Documents

Over the years, documentation writers have developed a misleading reputation. Many often think they produce simple documents, like board game instructions or TV guides. However, there are many types of technical writing documents, some much more complex than others.

A technical writer can focus on various technical documents, from compliance policies to aircraft specifications to incident management plans. These types of technical writing documents are critical documents for daily business operations. 

In addition, a technical documentation writer can produce so many types of documents that listing every kind they are capable of working on is nearly impossible. Listed below are a few examples of technical documentation that can be created by documentation writers for the tech industry:

IT Documentation

IT documentation is part of technical documentation writing and is a collection of documents describing how an IT team operates. An IT document writer can be particularly beneficial when crafting this specialized documentation. These are critical documents for ensuring that all systems are used as expected at all times.

  • Java Documentation — The Java computer programming language can be very complex. Documenting its principal rules for an organization or one of its projects is critical for business operations. There are generally two types of Java documents: 
    • External documents: A description of the guidelines and restrictions in a Java program.
    • Internal documents: An explanation of a specific code and its methodology.a group of Employees Productively Working due to the Documentation help from Documentation Writers
  • API Documentation — API documentation is a reference manual on how to use and connect multiple APIs, allowing different software services to connect seamlessly.
  • Knowledge Baseknowledge base document collects frequently asked questions (FAQs), how-to guides, and troubleshooting instructions. A knowledge base can be thought of as a database for a company, where new questions and answers regarding a product or service can be added at any given moment.
  • User Guide — User guides are generally shorter than manuals and offer guidance on how to use specific features often for software products and product documentation.
  • User Manual — User manuals help your customers use your software and fully utilize all feature sets as intended.
  • White Papers — Authoritative, research-based documents that present information, expert analysis, and an organization or author’s insight into a topic or solution to a problem. Typically, business white papers are tied to their own product or service offering.
  • Business Plans — Highly specialized for a business, a business plan includes the objectives of a business and the road map to get there.
  • Table of Contents — These lists link directly to the contents of the product documentation and provide a rapid way for the reader to access the material.

Process Documentation

Process documentation is a kind of document that describes a series of steps to complete a task or process. This can often refer to the “how” of your business. Prospective users will be able to access critical recorded maneuvers. When a process document is done correctly, your business could benefit from reduced busy work, eliminated errors, streamlined processes, well-allocated resources, enhanced communication, and retained knowledge. 

Good Technical Documentation contributes to a Productive Team Environment

Policy and Procedures

Policy and procedures documents are guidelines for a business’s day-to-day operations and other courses of action. Training materials are a documentation writer’s most well-known type of work. Training materials consist of various manuals, job aids, and other tools to help employees learn specific skills or knowledge.

How much do documentation writers make?

Does a documentation writer make much money? As with any position, the salary range is influenced by demand and location, but writing technical documentation can be a great career. A documentation writer’s salary ranges from $60,000 to $80,000 per year based on current research. However, companies can hire on a per-project basis depending on their specific budget and needs. One reason why you would hire a contract writer over a permanent full-time employee (FTE) is so that you can find the right talent to match the precise needs of a project’s document writing. Since subject matter expertise is important, it’s rare to find a unicorn who has ALL the experience you might need.

Of course, the budget also plays an important role. By employing an FTE, you take on overhead, taxes, and a long-term commitment. With a contract writer, your investment might be higher per hour, but overall lower than that of an FTE. You can review job descriptions to get some ideas on what other companies seek. The technical documentation writer job description content varies to reflect the type of documentation writing required based on the seven types of technical writing previously mentioned. You will want to search and review many types of technical writing job descriptions to get a full view of what you might need for your situation.

The Skyrocketing Value of a Software Documentation Writer

a Documentation Writer Shaking Hands with a Businessperson, Representing Beneficial Collaboration

Revenues for the global software market are projected to increase annually until 2027, when they may reach $813 billion. Everyone in software development will play a significant role in this excellent value creation.

Software is designed by engineers and built by programmers in alliance with business goals. While some companies expect specialists to explain the products they’re developing in clear writing, others know that a software documentation writer is best suited for this position. Often a technical documentation writer’s job description will include a requirement for experience in a “highly technical field, such as software development, computer science, or engineering.”

Similarly, software documentation contains instructions explaining how to use a program or a service. This type of documentation needs to target a specific audience, whether an IT professional, a business leader, or an end-user at any level of any organization. 

Documenting this highly sophisticated technical material in simple terms is an artful balancing act best executed by a professional technical document writer. The companies that realize this have seen firsthand the difference between clear and concise documentation and sloppy document writing that costs everyone time, money, and headaches.

Why Are Documentation Writers Important For Your Business?

When you invest in a documentation writer, you take an essential step toward creating deliverables that ensure your in-house employees can achieve their goals. In this way, documentation writers empower workers.

Technical documentation writers work alongside computer hardware engineers and support specialists so they can manage complex information flows. Thus, technical writers’ work keeps your company’s projects on time and under budget, freeing up resources for development and testing.

These benefits can occur whether documentation writers are on a project from the beginning or brought in later to fix errors, reduce redundancies, remove unnecessary information, and increase productivity. Similarly, the work of a technical writer lays down new standards that often serve as an important source of guidance about company products or processes. 

This bridges the gap between current employees, who have gained valuable knowledge over time, and future employees. In a demanding business environment, seamless information flows can be the difference between increasing user satisfaction and retaining customers or losing out to an organized, efficient, well-documented competitor. 

How Essential Data Corporation Can Help Your Documentation

Want to learn more about the importance and benefits of documentation writers and technical documentation writing? Check out some of our related content below:

Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or [email protected] to get started.