Technical Writer or Technical Communicator? Which Job Title is
People are sensitive. Read this.
‘Do technical writers
write wikis? NOT!
Do technical writers write process maps? NOT! Do technical writers
write interviews? NOT? Do technical writers write online help? NOT! They
develop content and communicate. They
communicate technical information.’
Communicate Technical Information
That’s the PG version of an email I got last week. And it got me
thinking (after I’d calmed down) that they had a point. I liked her
Communicate. Technical. Information.
That’s what I do but I still prefer to use ‘technical writing’ on the
blog. Am I just being obstinate?
Technical Writers v Technical Communicators?
So, why do I use the term Technical Writers? Shouldn’t it be
I think there’s a few reasons:
- Other Blogs – Tom writes great stuff on
http://idratherbewriting.com/, not I’d Rather Be
Alltop has a section for
Gordon is http://www.onemanwrites.co.uk/ and
Janet is a Techie Tech Writer
My fav tech writers blog is
from Aaron and Scott, which has the word Communications in it. And
Ugur is at
So, what do I know, huh?
- Habit – I started as a tech writer in London
where paradoxically they are/were called Technical Authors. I found
that a tiny but pretentious. So, did my Texan boss. She preferred Tech
Writer and I tagged along!. Read into that what you will.
- SEO – People find this blog using keywords such
as ‘technical writing tips’, ‘technical writing format’, and
‘technical writing jobs’. Very few use Technical Communication, even
And I know what you’re thinking.
If I wrote about Technical Communication, people would find the
blog and then keywords would appear in the results. True. But, a quick
search on Google shows that more search for tech writing keyword
phrases than Technical Communications.
- LinkedIn – most of the discussions on LinkedIn
where many of us hang out talk about tech writing when discussing our
field. Few refer to Technical Communication. Maybe it just takes too
long to type!
- Job Hunts – Most of the job sites post vacancies
for Technical Writers, though I have seen variations, e.g. Technical
Authors on the UK and Irish sites. Very few post for Technical
- Industry Standard – While we may like to be seen
(or defined?) as Technical Communicators, the reality is that most
others refer to us as Technical Writers. At least in the orgs I worked
in, people would talk about Tech Writers. Maybe it’s different in your
part of the world.
Which Job Title is Right?
Should we start using
Technical Communications more
intentionally and drop Tech Writing?
I have mixed feelings. I’ll leave the last word to you.
What do you think?
About the Author: Ivan Walsh shares
Writing and Documentation Plan tips on
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