1. What do you know about the job role of a technical writer?
Apart from writing a technical writer performs the following roles and responsibilities:
i.) Learn about the product and analyze data to get knowledge about the product.
ii.) Interview Subject Matter Experts on regular basis, to learn more about the product.
iii.) Explain technical concepts with the help of diagrams; make illustrations and other visuals for a better understanding of the concept.
iv.) Prepare video tutorials.
v.) Prepare a set of instructions to help people use software and hardware applications.
vi.) Create e-learning courses.
vii.) Create how-to articles to increase the awareness about the technology and product. This promotes the use of technology and product.
viii.) Passing on the feedback to the product team obtained through usability testing, training or other user immersion. This helps in improving the product.
2. What are the different tools used by a technical writer?
There are many tools and software's which help the technical writers to create error-free documents. They help the writers to create documents in different formats and provide easy edit and customization facilities. These software ensure that the content is unique.
Here are some of the commonly used software packages:
i.) Adobe RoboHelp
- It helps to create interactive content in multiple formats.
- This helps the writers if they are looking to have technical documentation of their product in the form of blogs.
- To learn the basics of HTML programming.
iv.) Microsoft Visio
- This is a popular diagramming tool which helps the writers to create flow charts, software designs, electrical circuit diagram, etc.
- Technical writers need to be creative. This tool helps the writers to create animated videos which help to capture user attention in an engaging way.
vi.) MadCap Flare
- This is another help authoring tool that enables the technical writers to personalize the content and it also allows repurposing as per the audience.
vii.) Windows Snipping tool
- This tool enables the writers with screen capture options.
- This software helps the readers to create, record and edit videos.
3. What are the important skills required to be a technical writer?
In order to be a successful technical writer the skills required are as follows:
i.) Clear and Concise Writing Skills
ii.) Ability to quickly understand the technology
iii.) Knowledge of tools that help in producing various kinds of documents.
iv.) Interviewing skills to extract the required information from the SMEs
v.) Excellent listening skills to capture the right information.
vi.) Effective designing skills to produce good graphics and illustration skills.
vii.) Testing skills to ensure that the product works as documented.
4. What are the best practices followed by efficient technical writers?
Here are some of the best practices followed by effective writers:
i.) They plan the scope of their content to prevent straying.
ii.) They believe in researching the topic/ product/ technology well.
iii.) They always rewrite to reach the final draft.
iv.) They understand and agree with what they write.
v.) They are open to feedback and suggestions & do not take criticism personally
vi.) Successful technical writers ask for help, if needed. They don't shy from asking relevant questions.
5. What are the basic principles a technical writer should always bear in mind?
Some of the important principles that a writer needs to bear in mind are:
i.) Be open to feedback and suggestions from readers.
ii.) Test all the instructions you have provided in the content.
iii.) Focus on content. Avoid getting stuck up with publication.
iv.) Have a mix of content and visual in your document. Flow charts, graphs, illustrations, screenshot, etc. help a lot.
v.) Always try to give examples to explain complicated concepts.
vi.) Technology is always evolving. Keep yourself updated.
6. Why do you choose to be a technical writer?
A technical writer is a person who creates a document to make technical information easy to understand. He/she researches, creates and presents the information in an organized, user friendly manner. With this question, the interviewer would want to know what encouraged you to be a technical writer.
To answer the above question you can say something like: "I choose to be a technical writer as I love technology as well as writing. This profession allows me to do something useful and helpful through my writings.It has also deepened my interest in technology. The opportunities I get to interact with SMEs is something I really enjoy. "
7. How do you plan and prioritize your work?
With this question, the interviewer is trying to understand your time management skills. They want to find out how effectively you organize and prioritize your work. They would also like to know if you have devised any strategies to complete your tasks quickly and effectively.
To answer this question you can say something like,"It is extremely easy for a writer to get strayed and realize later that what they have written is out of the scope of the project. I always scope my project well based on the readers and what I'm targeting with that particular content. The next thing that I’m always clung on to is my Table of Content. Based on this scoping and Table of content, I draw an overall schedule. I always prepare a to do list, as first thing in the morning, prioritize the task and work as per the schedule. Also, I ensure that I do not get distracted by distractions such as mobile phones, social media etc. Efficient time management helps me deliver good content on time."