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Technical author

Technical authors write documents and guides that explain how to use products and services.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Technical author jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • collect and edit complex information
  • produce new documents like manuals and instructions
  • update or rewrite existing documents
  • commission photographs or illustrations
  • work on digital or multi-channel content like blogs, e-learning or podcasts
  • test what you've written with content users

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly
  • completing specialised training courses

You'll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject like:

  • science
  • computing
  • journalism
  • engineering
  • telecommunications
  • pharmaceuticals

You can do technical or science communication and writing courses at postgraduate level.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Direct application

You can apply to companies directly. Employers will expect you to have in-depth industry knowledge and experience of writing and editing in their sector.

You'll need to show you can research and interpret complex information and communicate it clearly. You'll also need to know about:

  • content planning and strategy
  • writing to brand style or other guidelines
  • user behaviour - how people read and absorb information
  • project management

Other routes

You may be able to find work after doing short, specialised training courses in:

  • content planning
  • writing styles
  • quality assurance
  • costing
  • project management

The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators may have details of short courses like these and how to find them.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a technical author from the Institute of Science and Technical Communicators and the Association of British Science Writers has more information on becoming a science journalist.

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With experience, you could become a technical author for a larger organisation, or move into technical editing.

You could move into supervisory or management roles or work as a freelance consultant.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • administration skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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