Engineering Document Specialist
So you think you might like to become an engineering documentation specialist? Engineering documentation specialists can be described as technical writers. These specialists work with teams of engineers, designers and manufacturers to describe the use and features of devices and products. Like many technical writers, they can work on a freelance basis, which means some uncertainty about when the next job will come.
|Degree Level||Most have at least a bachelor's degree or higher|
|Degree Field||Related field, such as communications or engineering|
|Certification||Voluntary professional certification is available|
|Experience||Related experience, such as in documenting, typically required by employers; writing samples may be requested|
|Key Skills||Communication and writing skills, as well as imagination, attention to detail and ability to work well with others, familiarity with related technology, such as web platform development, desktop publishing and development environment software, ability to interpret drawings and diagrams at various stages|
|Salary (2015)||$70,240 yearly (median for all technical writers)|
Sources: Online job listings from employers, Society for Technical Communication, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
While an engineering documentation specialist doesn't need to be an engineer, a strong background in engineering may be beneficial, according to the January 2013 search for these specialist positions. Other fields, such as communications, English and journalism, can also prepare graduates for a career in engineering documentation. Computer science, engineering and web design are also possible majors. In general, applicants should have a background in technical writing, editing, and/or publishing.
Tip for success:
- Consider obtaining voluntary professional certification. According to the Society for Technical Communication, earning the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) credential can show dedication to professional skills development. This particular credential provides training for user, task, and experience analysis, information design and process management, as well as information development and production.
Step 2: Gain Experience
A document control specialist working in the engineering field will need several years of experience. Requirements tend to differ amongst employers and organizations. This technical writing experience might include the preparation of reports, briefings and documents pertaining to engineering and technology. Experience in other related areas, such as drawing diagrams and proofreading documents, might also be necessary. Employers usually consider a combination of education and experience.
While on-the-job training can help prospective specialists tailor their skills to specific employer's business style and needs, this will often depend upon the nature of the job. While company size tends to influence assignment types, work load and level of responsibility, technical writers will generally receive more complicated assignments over time.
Step 3: Look for Career Advancement Opportunities
The engineering documentation specialist has a very good chance of advancing to higher positions within his or her career, especially if trained in a particular field of engineering. Some documentation specialists also undertake freelance work, either as a supplement to full-time positions or in place of them.
Obtaining a bachelor's degree, gaining experience, and looking for career advancement opportunities are the steps to take to make the most of a career as an engineering documentation specialist.