What Does a Documentation Manager Do?

Updated on October 8th, 2021
What Does a Documentation Manager Do?

A documentation manager is the leader of the documentation team of a company. They oversee all of a company's technical documentation and ensure that there is a cohesive voice that accurately represents the company and its message.

A document manager is in charge of creating templates, style guides, and managing technical writers. If the documentation manager is working in SaaS, for example, they are also in charge of updating the documentation in the online help.

They are also in charge of authorizing the final approval of documents, speaking at conferences, talking with clients to ensure that they are satisfied with the documentation, and creating a company jargon dictionary.

A documentation manager also trains new hires and existing technical writers about new software programs or procedures. They also work with servers to manage document storage and access.

Documentation Manager Responsibilities

Technical writers create and maintain technical documents. They create user guides, technical specs, release notes, and so on. The documentation manager is in charge of taking all of those technical documents and maintaining them. A documentation manager ensures that:

  • Each technical writer is following the same tone of voice.
  • Each document follows the style guide and template.
  • Each document is released on time.
  • Old documents are archived and new ones are uploaded in the correct locations.
  • Communication between product managers and their assigned technical writers is efficient and productive.
  • Documents are structured and organized in the correct manner.
  • Online help links to the correct locations in the documentation.
  • In firms and companies where a hard copy or a physical document is needed, a document manager manages the department responsible for filling it. For example, in a legal firm, a document manager files legal documents that include the evidence's original documents in a court case are kept safe.

Education Requirements

A Bachelor's degree is necessary to become a documentation manager. Most documentation managers have a degree in business, English, or communication. You must also have previous experience as a technical writer, or as a writer. Documentation managers need to understand the intricacies of technical writing and technical documents, therefore, experience is a must.

If you want to become a documentation manager, you must familiarize yourself with common publishing tools. In today's market, knowing at least one coding language is also helpful.

Valuable Skills

On top of having a background as a technical writer, there are other valuable skills that can help you succeed as a documentation manager.

  • Previous experience working on large documentation projects.
  • Having excellent knowledge about technical documentation rules and best practices.
  • Knowledge of different types of writing such as the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).
  • Having knowledge of project management.
  • Experience as a manager or team leader.
  • Understanding documentation structure.
  • Experience working with multiple content management systems.
  • Experience creating style guides and templates.
  • Experience working with servers and document management systems.
  • Knowing of at least one coding language.
  • Experience working with an array of different departments such as product managers, developers, customer service representatives, and more.
  • Excellent research skills.
  • Experience working on eLearning or educational materials.

How to Become a Documentation Manager

To become a documentation manager you need to have a Bachelor's degree and previous experience as a technical writer. It is beneficial to have a background in leadership or some experience training others.

Keep up-to-date on the latest evolving technical writing trends so that you are one step above the competition. Attend networking events to meet others in the field, and create a strong portfolio to showcase your skills. Include samples from different jobs and employers to display your diversity and agility.

Use social media outlets to set a job alert for interesting opportunities in your area. You can also look for related jobs where you can easily apply, which can help you pave the path to joining the team of documentation managers.

Is It the Right Career for You?

Documentation managers are the core of a company's technical documentation. They are the final people responsible for the release and management of a company's technical communication. Their role is important and requires expertise in technical documentation. Documentation managers must ensure that the documents are free from any errors and that they are high-quality products.

With the rise in demand for technical communication, document managers' jobs are readily available. Employers are always looking for a documentation manager to oversee their documents. Documentation managers can also move on to related job titles such as project managers, training managers, or online education course creators.

Documentation Manager Salary

The average salary for a documentation manager is $40 per hour or $83,310 per year. The highest salary is approximately $135,000 a year and ranges down to $51,000 a year.

Wrap Up

Document managers have interesting and exciting careers. They play a huge role and are the core of an industry's technical documentation. A document manager is responsible for the final communication between a business and its customer. Document managers have major responsibilities and must work with tight deadlines, manage an array of different technical writers, ensure compliance, and more.

If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.