Technical writing is not just about writing. It's a job that involves a series of different tasks. Each day is different. However, there are some tasks that technical writers perform almost every day.
This article describes a day in the life of a technical writer (order may vary from person to person and from day to day).
Like many other jobs, checking emails is part of the day for a technical writer. Most of my emails come from GitHub notifications and the company's internal emails.
Pick a task
Many companies use JIRA as a project-tracking software. JIRA is where I manage all the tasks for the current or future Sprints. I look at my JIRA to plan my day and pick a high-priority task for the upcoming Sprint.
My job involves writing documentation for a developer audience. I research and learn new concepts every day. I research the product, watch YouTube videos to clarify concepts, and read blogs to fulfil my curiosity.
Cross-functional collaboration is a crucial part of the job of a technical writer.
Cross-functional collaboration means running a project with the help of teams from other parts of the organization.
[...]Technical writing requires a different skill set than programming—ask anyone who has read documentation written by developers. Similarly, there are few tech writers who could seamlessly take on coding tasks. Writing tasks therefore tend to be isolated from the rest of development work and remain the responsibility of writers.[Orckestra]
In my case, cross-functional collaboration happens with content designers, UX designers, software engineers, and product managers.
Write the documentation
Once you have enough information to create documentation, you start by following the company's style guide to create guides, tutorials, etc.
Submit documentation for review
Like in software engineering, before your changes reach production, they'll have to go through a review process from your peers to ensure documentation is up to standard.
Review your peers' pull requests
In software engineering, there is a code review process before your changes can be merged into production.
Organize your JIRA
JIRA is a valuable tool. However, if not kept organized, it loses the benefits that it offers.
Organize your JIRA by:
Giving descriptive names to your tickets. For example, include the name of the product(s).
Adding descriptions to each ticket.
Adding any labels.
Adding points to each ticket.
Meetings can be with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), colleagues, and stakeholders. They can also be company-wide meetings.
After reading this article, you know what the day of a technical writer looks like.
Are you a technical writer? Do you agree with the article?
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