Technical Author | Your ideal choice is ….

The background of a technical author can affect how well they create clear and concise documentation. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different backgrounds and find the one that suits your needs best. So, which technical authoring background is your ideal choice?

  1. Engineering Background:
    • Pros:
      • Technical Proficiency: Engineers often have a deep understanding of complex systems, which can be beneficial when writing technical documentation for software, hardware, or industrial processes.
      • Analytical Skills: Engineers analyse problems logically, translating well into organising and presenting information systematically.
      • Attention to Detail: Engineering work demands precision, and technical authors with an engineering background tend to pay attention to details.
    • Cons:
      • Over-Complexity: Engineers might unintentionally make documentation too technical, assuming that users share their level of expertise.
      • Communication Challenges: Some engineers need help simplifying complex concepts for non-technical audiences.
    • Verdict: An engineering background can be suitable if the technical author can balance technical depth with user-friendly communication.
  2. Medical or Pharmaceutical Background:
    • Pros:
      • Domain Knowledge: Medical or pharmaceutical backgrounds provide expertise in specialised fields. Technical authors with this background can create accurate and contextually relevant content.
      • Regulatory Compliance: These backgrounds often involve adhering to strict guidelines, which aligns with the precision required in technical writing.
    • Cons:
      • Jargon Overload: Medical and pharmaceutical terms can be overwhelming for non-experts. Authors must simplify terminology.
      • Lack of Technical Depth: While domain knowledge is valuable, technical authors must also understand software, hardware, or IT systems.
    • Verdict: Consider this background if the technical author can bridge medical knowledge with technical communication2.
  3. Software Background:
  4. Content Writer Background:
    • Pros:
      • Communication Skills: Content writers excel in clear, engaging writing.
      • Adaptability: They can learn new domains quickly and tailor content to diverse audiences.
      • Process-Agnostic: Content writers can adapt to various processes and policies.
    • Cons:
      • Technical Learning Curve: Content writers may need time to grasp technical concepts.
      • Depth vs. Breadth: They might need specialised knowledge in specific technical areas.
    • Verdict: Consider content writers willing to learn and adapt to technical subjects.
  5. General IT Background:

A successful technical author needs good communication skills, adaptability, attention to detail, and the ability to work well with different teams. 

During interviews, ask candidates about their experiences, portfolios, and approaches to creating user-friendly documentation to help you find the right fit for your team.