As a Technical Writer, Do You Need to be an Expert?
Being an expert is a good thing. Being a technical writer is a good thing. But do the two have to go hand in hand?
While it’s certainly a good idea for medical writers to be experts in their field, especially when it comes to preparing documents for medical professional use, what about the everyday technical writer? And if you’re trying to hire a technical writer, do you need someone who’s an expert or do you just need a high quality writer?
Technical Writing and Expertise
The technical writing document has one goal: to inform. In order to create a document that’s informative, the document needs to be backed up by research. Many technical writers are able to complete the research on their own, without having expertise in that area. They might:
- Spend time researching PRIOR to writing
- Interview subject-matter experts (SMEs) for advice and support
By going to sources that are reliable, the technical writer can have the information they need to write like an expert.
Do You Need an Expert?
When you’re highly concerned about a technical writing project, it’s best to seek out a technical writer who has training in that subject OR a technical writer who has written similar documents (or better still, both). If they’ve been writing for a certain field for a while, they’re more likely to have the background to show expertise.
Not everyone’s an expert, but a technical writer needs at least some of the knowledge of one.
Technical Writers as Subject Matter Experts