What does it take to be successful within technical documentation, and in addition - to be a consultant? As a consultancy company specialized in technical writing and surrounding competencies, this question is always relevant.
The purpose of technical writing is to make technology accessible for the end user. To be a great technical writer, you need the ability to combine the sources of information at hand with relevant outside input to produce content that can be adjusted to be useful for different kinds of end users. It also entails a variety of tasks surrounding technical documentation.
To be a successful consultant, you will need to be an asset to whatever team or organization you’re placed in, and to support them with your specialist skills and expert knowledge.
Would you make a good tech doc consultant?
So how do you know if this would suit you or someone you know? The right mindset is crucial - common sense will get you far but a technical writer also needs to be curious about the end users and how they will use the product. You need to be willing to learn new things, be interested in technology and science, as well as be systematic, detail-oriented, and communicative.
It’s also necessary to be interested in people, your content will be much more attuned to the needs of the end user if you can be open, listen and adapt an audience perspective, which helps you show the end users tolerance and empathy.
As a consultant you will gain success by being a helpful and supportive person, as well as good at building relationships. Other important traits are to be goal-oriented, open for feedback, a quick learner, and a hands-on person. One thing that is very important, but often forgotten, is to be flexible and adaptable, and adjust to the constantly changing processes, requirements and needs.
In short, a successful technical writer consultant is a curious, empathetic person who is detail-oriented, has common sense and is good at connecting with people.
Our advice to you: Many of the traits mentioned can be learned, but you will need quite a few of them naturally to be truly happy in the role as a technical writer consultant.
Text & Images: Karin Askeroth