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Technical Writer Interview Questions

HP Quality Center (QC) is an integration of web-based test management software offerings if you are a professional writer and wish to pursue long term career in the field of technical writing, then it is definitely a good career option. The technical writer interview questions emphasize upon the hardcore aspects of technical writing so as to judge your skills as a writer. The interviewer would want to know if you have the ability to become a successful technical writer in future.

A technical writer is a professional writer who deals with the designing, creation, and maintenance of the technical documentation process. The technical documents can be design specifications, white papers, test plans, project plans, user guides and manuals, information manuals, system manuals, and help which is provided on-line. Technical writing is also comprised of cross-checking, proof reading, formatting, and editing of the already written technical documentation. The target audience for this type of technical documentation is technical, business, and business personnel.

Given below is a list of some of the most frequently asked technical writer interview questions and the best suitable answers to them. Just go thorough them to apply your own perspective and be ready to appear for the interview.

Question 1: Why do you think the technical writers are also known as 'technical communicators'?

You would have to understand that this question is the crux of the entire interview and thus, your answer to this opening question should leave a positive impact on the interviewer. Technical writing is a form of technical communication. The documentation created by the professional writers actually communicates with the audience and help understand the whole concept through an easy language. The communication is indirect, but if the content is excellent and user friendly, then the reader gets to grasp every little aspect that is expected to be communicated through the respective content. Even though the language is technical, it provides the audience with clear understanding. This is the reason why they are called as 'technical communicators'. Their style of writing makes them good communicators.

Question 2: What does SME stand for? How do the technical writers and SMEs relate to each other?

If you want to pursue a career in the field of writing, it is desirable that you should have carried out the essential home work and know the terminologies involved in the field. SME stands for 'subject matter expert' who are the experts in any topic that the writers are working on. Also known as domain experts, SMEs possess special knowledge or skill sets in a particular area of endeavor. On the other hand, technical writers gather the information from the SMEs or their previous documentation and then create the documentation that enables clear understanding of the target audience in that particular topic. The topics may be variable.

Question 3: What, according to you, are the qualities of a technical writer?

A technical writer needs to have strong language and communication skills, command on technical language, unique writing style, and reading as well as researching skills. Apart from these skill sets, they also need to have knowledge about information design and architecture, illustrative skills, material development, analysis, and management. Since the main job of a technical writer is to simplify the technical jargon, every professional writer must possess the skill of writing in simplified language.

Question 4: What made you enter the field of technical writing?

This question tests your confidence and your will to work in the filed of technical writing for a long term period. The best possible answer for this question could be like this: 'I hold appreciable command over the English language and love to write. I also have great interest in technology and often develop this interests through technical websites, gadget information, blogs, cyber-utopian imagination writing, and social media. Since I like to work in the field that combines both of my interests of writing and technology, I decided to step into this industry.'

Question 5: How would you describe your working experience as a technical writer till now?

Though this question demands your honest answer, you ought to mention the positive points only. Mentioning negative aspects of your previous workplaces, superiors, working experiences, and your own weaknesses is absolutely not expected here. Thus, it is advisable to give your answer in such a manner: 'Till now, working as a technical writer has taught a lot of things to me as a professional as well as an individual. The job of a technical writer has developed and sharpened certain skills in me that are awareness and interest building in technology, technical familiarity, patience, and troubleshooting. Apart from these skills, this job has always given me freedom to develop my own hobbies, since the job timings are fixed and the schedule is not hectic. Most important, the job of a technical writer also pays decent money.'

Question 6: What are the important factors that decide the quality of the technical documentation?

Technical documentation is considered to be useful only if it proves to be understandable to the readers. Thus, simple language is one factor that decides the quality of the content. Unavoidable technical jargon must be simplified in order to make the content clear, concise, and complete. The target audience is a major factor that must be considered while writing technical documents. Confusing and complicated language creates unnecessary jargon and thus, fails to explain the hardcore technical terms in simple language. Such type of writing is poor that decreases the quality of the documents. The simpler the content, the better is the quality of the documents. Other factors that influence it are the target audience, source of research, target form of the documents such as a book, a presentation, a paper, a web page, or anything else.

Question 7: Except for writing skills, what other skills should a technical writer possess?

The best way in which you can answer this question is, 'Skill with words is just not enough for a professional technical writer. A writer must have certain other skills too. They can be graphic designing, blog writing, and solving problems patiently.' You can also tell the interviewer that you have completed graphic tool program, or a video capture tool program. Mention if you have started a blog about technical communication so as to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm. It adds to your positive points.

Question 8: How many types of technical writing do you know?

Home work and knowledge about different types of writing are must for answering this question. Different types of technical writing are reports, presentation, executive summary, user manual, abstract writing, proposal, spec sheet, employment documents, and questionnaires. These are based upon the target audience of the documentation and its purpose.

Question 9: What are different tools that help write you in various types of technical documents?

This is the question that tests your out of the box knowledge. You should be able to answer this question and you might be one step ahead in the interview. There are many tools that help you write the technical documents:

Web design tools

  • template designe tools
  • screen recording tools, multimedia tools
  • publishing tools, help authoring tools, image editor tools
  • and the Darwin information typing architecture (DITA) tools.

Question 10: How do you look at this field of technical writing? Where do you envision yourself after a few years?

Technical writing is one of the latest fields on the horizon and is much different from the rest of the fields. Many people think that this profession is just about writing a bunch of technical words but this is not the fact. Nowadays, this field involves a diversity of other fields and almost every IT and educational organization has increasing demand for writers. Thus, there is a wide scope of employment in this field. Love and passion for writing, language, and command over technical writing would give a good kick start to a bright career in this arena. You can also mention that you see yourself as a successful, established professional writer in the industry after a few years. You can mention that you wish to move ahead of the writer's position and achieve higher goals.

These technical writer interview questions would definitely help you know what your prospective employer expects from you and how should you prepare for the interview accordingly. All the best for a great career start in technical writing!

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