Technical Author

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

Technical authors are usually qualified or have extensive experience in areas like:

  • science
  • computing
  • manufacturing
  • engineering
  • telecommunications
  • pharmaceuticals
  • banking
  • insurance

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • collecting and editing complex information
  • producing new documents like manuals and instructions
  • updating or rewriting existing documents
  • commissioning photographs or illustrations
  • working on digital or multi-channel content like blogs, e-
  • learning or podcasts
  • testing what you’ve written with content users


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • administration skills (organisational skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive & creativity)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a technical author, you don’t typically need specific GCSE subjects, but a combination of subjects and skills can be advantageous for your future studies and career in technical writing. Technical authors are responsible for creating documents, manuals, and guides that explain complex technical information in a clear and understandable way. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be beneficial:

  1. English: Strong written communication skills are essential for technical authors. GCSE English can help you develop your writing skills, including grammar, punctuation, and style.
  2. Mathematics: While not a direct requirement, mathematics can be helpful, especially if you plan to write about technical subjects that involve calculations or data analysis.
  3. Science: GCSEs in science subjects like Physics, Chemistry, or Biology can provide a foundational understanding of scientific concepts, which may be relevant if you plan to write about technical topics in the sciences.
  4. Information Technology (IT): Familiarity with IT concepts and computer skills are essential for creating and formatting technical documents. Proficiency in using word processing software and other relevant tools is crucial.

Post School

There are no set entry requirements, but employers will expect you to have 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 (strategy)
  • writing to brand style or other guidelines
  • user behaviour (how people read and absorb information)
  • project management

It would be useful to have a degree in a subject that is relevant to the sector you will be writing about. A postgraduate qualification in technical publishing might also be helpful.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes need to do extra hours to meet deadlines so this could include evenings and weekends.

You might work freelance and spend part or all of your time working from home.

Career Path & Progression:

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