I'm keeping this to the 3 C's and hope that others will chime in on the comments if you have questions or additional knowledge.
A technical writer is defined as: a professional writer who designs, creates, and maintains technical documentation. Technical documents include online help, user guides, design specifications, system manuals, and other documents.
Technical writing is usually synonymous with technological fields like engineering, information design and information architecture. A little known fact is that technical writing can also include education and employee training. Specific qualifications usually include having at least associates degree, but it's not required. What is required is an active knowledge about the business you are producing the writing for, the ability to take constructive criticism, and effective communication skills. Honestly though a degree in English, Creative Writing, or Journalism doesn't hurt.
Now to the guest blogger-- Me!
I have been a technical writer for almost 3 years. Honestly, I stumbled into my current job, which at first involved cooking food- a lot of food! Then I found out that my job included creating detailed, step-by-step, instructions to tell people how to prepare these types of foods on certain pieces of equipment. My job involved designing the format in which the information would be presented and typing up the instructions. Within 6 months the position took a different turn and now I develop instructions for food and any other items that are presented by clients. Unfortunately due to confidentiality and the nature of my job I can't go into any more specifics. Technical writing is not difficult for me, as I have a natural talent for seeing things in steps. Being an aspiring author doesn't hurt either, as I have a knack for coming up with ways to explain things in simple or complex terms. The job is rewarding and offers a significant amount of freedom. The single most important ability is communication! If you are a not a clear and concise communicator then technical writing is not for you. Too many times mistakes are made when someone does not relay all the details clearly. In technical writing success is in the details! P.S. I don't have a writing degree... I have a marketing degree!Hopefully this blog will give you plenty to think about. Technical writing is a super fun job when you find the right one. The field is vast and in certain cases the positions are unique. I have seen multiple types of technical writing jobs posted on the Internet for writing toy manuals, education books, user guides for appliances and all sorts of neat things.
Hit me up with questions if you want to know more.
*Outside sources include Wikipedia and TechnicalWritingAid.com
Next Week I'll be cover: Proposal Writers