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About this video 

Karen, a procedure center manager at a light source, describes the challenges of her job, what she likes most, her key decisions, how to get into the industry, and work-life balance. Karen tells us that she is able to meet many different kinds of people and continually learn new things in her job, but what is interesting is also one of the more challenging aspects of the job: you are sometimes required to write and work on a topic, in which you have no interest.

Job Title: Procedure Center Manager
Employer: Light Source

Job Summary: Technical Writers

Job Description

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, produce instruction manuals and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information among customers, designers, and manufacturers.

Technical writers create operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and “frequently asked questions” pages to help technical support staff, consumers, and other users within a company or an industry. After a product is released, technical writers also may work with product liability specialists and customer service managers to improve the end-user experience through product design changes.

Technical writers often work with engineers, scientists, computer specialists, and software developers to manage the flow of information among project workgroups during development and testing. Therefore, technical writers must be able to understand complex information and communicate the information to people with diverse professional backgrounds.

Applying their knowledge of the user of the product, technical writers may serve as part of a team conducting usability studies to help improve the design of a product that is in the prototype stage. Technical writers may conduct research on their topics through personal observation, library and Internet research, and discussions with technical specialists.

Increasingly, technical information is being delivered online, and technical writers are using the interactive technologies of the Web to blend text, graphics, multidimensional images, sound, and video.

On-the-Job Training

Some training may be necessary to adapt to this style of writing.

Additional Info

Some technical writers begin their careers not as writers, but as specialists or research assistants in a technical field. By developing technical communication skills, they eventually assume primary responsibilities for technical writing. In small firms, beginning technical writers may work on projects right away; in larger companies with more standard procedures, beginners may observe experienced technical writers and interact with specialists before being assigned projects.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
$40,000 - $100,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
15 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Flexible, Part-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Home, Indoor, Office
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Technical skills, Written communication skills

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
Associate degree
Bachelor's degree
Recommended majors
Recommended Majors
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='520'>What I</span> <span m='860'>like most</span> <span m='1330'>about</span> <span m='1500'>my</span> <span m='1660'>job</span> <span m='3020'>is</span> <span m='3880'>working</span> <span m='4210'>with</span> <span m='4360'>a</span> <span m='4420'>lot</span> <span m='4620'>of</span> <span m='4700'>different</span> <span m='5000'>kinds</span> <span m='5310'>of</span> <span m='5380'>people</span> <span m='5770'>and</span> <span m='5930'>learning</span> <span m='6250'>from</span> <span m='6520'>them.</span> <span m='7860'>I</span> <span m='8090'>like</span> <span m='8670'>that</span> <span m='8980'>my</span> <span m='9170'>job</span> <span m='9740'>isn't</span> <span m='10010'>one</span> <span m='10300'>thing.</span> <span m='10720'>It's</span> <span m='10910'>about</span> <span m='11470'>five</span> <span m='11740'>different</span> <span m='12210'>things,</span> <span m='12860'>and</span> <span m='13410'>that</span> <span m='13650'>I</span> <span m='13730'>actually,</span> <span m='15570'>whatever</span> <span m='15990'>area</span> <span m='16400'>that</span> <span m='16640'>I</span> <span m='16820'>want</span> <span m='17150'>to</span> <span m='17280'>learn</span> <span m='17650'>and I</span> <span m='18140'>want to</span> <span m='18630'>grow in,</span> <span m='19120'>I can</span> <span m='19610'>actually just</span> <span m='20100'>tel my</span> <span m='20590'>boss,</span> <span m='20920'>and I can</span> <span m='21060'>actually</span> <span m='21590'>go</span> <span m='21790'>in</span> <span m='21830'>that</span> <span m='22260'>area</span> <span m='22680'>and start</span> <span m='23063'>developing it.</span> </p><p><span m='23446'>The</span> <span m='23830'>challenging</span> <span m='24380'>part</span> <span m='24610'>about</span> <span m='24810'>my</span> <span m='24950'>job</span> <span m='25460'>is</span> <span m='25850'>that</span> <span m='26170'>you</span> <span m='26280'>might</span> <span m='26570'>get</span> <span m='26780'>asked</span> <span m='26960'>to</span> <span m='27080'>do</span> <span m='27230'>things</span> <span m='27620'>that you</span> <span m='27790'>really</span> <span m='28040'>are</span> <span m='28160'>not</span> <span m='28370'>interested</span> <span m='29020'>in</span> <span m='29180'>doing,</span> <span m='29980'>and</span> <span m='30180'>if</span> <span m='30320'>that</span> <span m='30500'>happens,</span> <span m='31160'>sometimes</span> <span m='31415'>you</span> <span m='31670'>really</span> <span m='31900'>just</span> <span m='32119'>have</span> <span m='32280'>to</span> <span m='32369'>do</span> <span m='32590'>it,</span> <span m='33346'>because there's</span> <span m='33692'>no one</span> <span m='34040'>else to do</span> <span m='34200'>it,</span> <span m='34645'>and it's</span> <span m='35090'>part of</span> <span m='35420'>your</span> <span m='35750'>job.</span> <span m='36810'>Another</span> <span m='37410'>thing</span> <span m='37840'>that's</span> <span m='38070'>challenging</span> <span m='38420'>is</span> <span m='39203'>working</span> <span m='39636'>with people.</span> <span m='40070'>Although</span> <span m='40415'>you might</span> <span m='40760'>like working</span> <span m='41070'>with people,</span> <span m='42118'>you might</span> <span m='42606'>not like</span> <span m='43094'>everyone</span> <span m='43582'>that you</span> <span m='44070'>work with,</span> <span m='44558'>and you</span> <span m='45046'>have to learn</span> <span m='45534'>how to deal</span> <span m='46022'>with different</span> <span m='46510'>people and</span> <span m='46998'>personalities.</span> </p><p><span m='48470'>And</span> <span m='48780'>that's</span> <span m='48950'>just</span> <span m='49150'>going</span> <span m='49260'>to</span> <span m='49450'>help you</span> <span m='49680'>grow.</span> <span m='50502'>So</span> <span m='51326'>although</span> <span m='51740'>it's</span> <span m='52010'>challenging,</span> <span m='52560'>it's a</span> <span m='52840'>good</span> <span m='52900'>thing to</span> <span m='53330'>help you</span> <span m='53760'>learn</span> <span m='54190'>about yourself.</span> <span m='55480'>One</span> <span m='55970'>of</span> <span m='56020'>the</span> <span m='56130'>key</span> <span m='56340'>things</span> <span m='56600'>that</span> <span m='56720'>got</span> <span m='56920'>me</span> <span m='57090'>into</span> <span m='57320'>this</span> <span m='57520'>path</span> <span m='57980'>is</span> <span m='58310'>that</span> <span m='58480'>I</span> <span m='58530'>decided</span> <span m='58970'>that</span> <span m='59160'>teaching</span> <span m='59570'>wasn't</span> <span m='60000'>my</span> <span m='60180'>path</span> <span m='60540'>anymore.</span> <span m='61090'>I</span> <span m='61210'>felt</span> <span m='61400'>like</span> <span m='61580'>I</span> <span m='61620'>really</span> <span m='61860'>needed</span> <span m='62100'>to</span> <span m='62230'>change,</span> <span m='62710'>so I</span> <span m='62950'>started looking</span> <span m='63420'>elsewhere.</span> <span m='64599'>And</span> <span m='64989'>when</span> <span m='65129'>I</span> <span m='65190'>saw</span> <span m='65440'>this</span> <span m='65680'>job</span> <span m='66210'>and</span> <span m='66570'>knew that</span> <span m='66930'>I</span> <span m='67110'>was</span> <span m='67220'>very</span> <span m='67400'>interested</span> <span m='67790'>in</span> <span m='67890'>writing</span> <span m='68305'>and</span> <span m='68720'>training,</span> <span m='69710'>I</span> <span m='69800'>felt</span> <span m='69980'>like</span> <span m='70170'>I</span> <span m='70250'>had a</span> <span m='70700'>good</span> <span m='70940'>fit,</span> <span m='71300'>so</span> <span m='71580'>I</span> <span m='71670'>just</span> <span m='72040'>decided</span> <span m='72440'>to</span> <span m='72480'>go</span> <span m='72630'>for</span> <span m='72920'>it</span> <span m='73500'>and</span> <span m='73840'>try</span> <span m='74120'>it,</span> <span m='74260'>and</span> <span m='74610'>it</span> <span m='74960'>worked.</span> <span m='75400'>So,</span> <span m='75600'>here I</span> <span m='76040'>am.</span> </p><p><span m='76920'>So</span> <span m='77190'>is it</span> <span m='77260'>hard</span> <span m='77550'>to</span> <span m='77630'>get</span> <span m='77820'>a</span> <span m='77880'>job</span> <span m='78260'>in</span> <span m='78480'>this</span> <span m='78740'>area?</span> <span m='79890'>I</span> <span m='80020'>would</span> <span m='80160'>say</span> <span m='80290'>it</span> <span m='80910'>depends</span> <span m='81400'>on</span> <span m='81510'>the</span> <span m='81640'>economy,</span> <span m='82490'>because</span> <span m='82940'>like</span> <span m='83390'>right</span> <span m='83650'>now,</span> <span m='84200'>things</span> <span m='84470'>are</span> <span m='84730'>pretty</span> <span m='85116'>tough.</span> <span m='85890'>But</span> <span m='85990'>at</span> <span m='86130'>the</span> <span m='86210'>time</span> <span m='86450'>that</span> <span m='86620'>I</span> <span m='86970'>came</span> <span m='87190'>into</span> <span m='87580'>this</span> <span m='87760'>position,</span> <span m='88180'>it</span> <span m='88260'>wasn't</span> <span m='88590'>so</span> <span m='88790'>bad.</span> <span m='89720'>I</span> <span m='89840'>think</span> <span m='90070'>you</span> <span m='90170'>can always</span> <span m='90540'>prepare</span> <span m='90910'>yourself</span> <span m='91510'>no</span> <span m='91610'>matter</span> <span m='91920'>what,</span> <span m='92310'>if the</span> <span m='92590'>economy's</span> <span m='93140'>bad</span> <span m='93380'>or</span> <span m='93470'>not.</span> <span m='93790'>That you can</span> <span m='94140'>always</span> <span m='94995'>get</span> <span m='95490'>more</span> <span m='95610'>education,</span> <span m='95930'>get</span> <span m='96250'>more</span> <span m='96390'>training,</span> <span m='97500'>and</span> <span m='98000'>prepare</span> <span m='98340'>yourself</span> <span m='98690'>for</span> <span m='99340'>whatever</span> <span m='99660'>job</span> <span m='99930'>you get</span> <span m='100327'>into.</span> </p><p><span m='101520'>My</span> <span m='101610'>work</span> <span m='101980'>life</span> <span m='102260'>balance</span> <span m='102710'>is</span> <span m='102840'>actually</span> <span m='103390'>not</span> <span m='103610'>so</span> <span m='103780'>good</span> <span m='104040'>right</span> <span m='104270'>now,</span> <span m='104460'>because</span> <span m='104680'>I</span> <span m='104790'>have</span> <span m='105220'>a</span> <span m='105450'>two-year-old.</span> <span m='106430'>So</span> <span m='106690'>once</span> <span m='107050'>I</span> <span m='107210'>finish</span> <span m='107550'>work</span> <span m='107760'>here,</span> <span m='108450'>it's</span> <span m='108640'>like</span> <span m='108790'>I</span> <span m='108830'>go</span> <span m='109100'>home</span> <span m='109340'>and</span> <span m='109530'>do</span> <span m='109690'>a</span> <span m='109750'>whole</span> <span m='110010'>other</span> <span m='110220'>job.</span> <span m='110780'>So</span> <span m='111800'>just</span> <span m='112010'>to</span> <span m='112090'>be</span> <span m='112250'>honest,</span> <span m='112630'>it's</span> <span m='112830'>really</span> <span m='113170'>tough</span> <span m='113490'>to do</span> <span m='114040'>a</span> <span m='114330'>full</span> <span m='114530'>time</span> <span m='114780'>job,</span> <span m='115065'>and then</span> <span m='115350'>go home and</span> <span m='115828'>feel like</span> <span m='116306'>you're doing</span> <span m='116784'>another full</span> <span m='117262'>time</span> <span m='117740'>job.</span> <span m='118220'>I hear it's</span> <span m='118520'>possible,</span> <span m='119120'>but I</span> <span m='119420'>haven't</span> <span m='119720'>found it</span> <span m='120020'>yet.</span> </p>","file":{"id":255759,"video_id":"2700278174001","name":"69658531","duration":121237,"thumbnail_url":null}});