What Does a Google Technical Writer Do?
A Google technical writer creates user manuals, help articles, training materials, or any other type of documentation related to Google products. They are also responsible for maintaining and updating existing documentation.
Writing, rewriting, and editing content are some of the primary tasks of a technical writer. They create unique content that suits the needs of their clients and attracts a vast audience. They work with different teams across the company to get a clear understanding of the product and its features to write about it in a way that is easy for customers to understand.
Google technical writers write content in various niches and experience multiple roles. However, it is a challenging and demanding profession requiring great creativity, knowledge, and skill.
If you are struggling to find your way in Google's technical writing field, read this blog post. This blog post will share what Google technical writers do, their qualifications, and how you can become a successful technical writer at Google.
What Does a Google Technical Writer Do?
It is one of the most common questions that numerous aspiring technical writers ask. And it is not an easy question to answer because the work of a technical writer varies depending on the niche they are working in, company size, and other factors. However, the following are some of the typical duties of a technical writer.
Technical writers at Google create engaging content that is easy to understand. They ensure that the documents they create are clear and concise, so the target audience can easily get the complex concepts. It is imperative when they are creating help content or online tutorials.
Polishing tech writing skills is a strenuous task. It is because perfecting the skill needs a lot of practice and patience. It's not about having a single skill but having various skills to make your content shine. You can join a writing group that offers to coach non-writers and beginners. You can also go for a few online courses to learn about the latest trends and techniques in the industry.
Researching The Topic
To deliver accurate information, you have to thoroughly search out every aspect of that topic. Even if you have to write about something new to the market, you have to conduct in-depth research on the product, the market, and customer needs. You need to thoroughly understand the topic to deliver an accurate depiction of what users need to do.
Planning The Document
After researching a topic, it is time to plan the document. It includes creating an outline, designing the table of contents, and figuring out what illustrations or screenshots will be needed. It is essential to understand the target audience and their needs before writing. It is a vital aspect of tech writing as it can help them stay on track while ensuring that all the necessary information is delivered to the reader.
Keeping Pace With New Technologies
Technology is ever-changing, and as a technical writer, you need to keep up with the latest trends. You need to understand how different tools and technologies work to write about them in a way that is easy for the reader to understand. At Google, you need to constantly learn about new products and services to provide accurate information to the readers. You can't excel as a technical writer without learning new technologies as the readers expect to learn about the latest trends.
Organizing Various Tasks
A Google tech writer often has to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. It includes working on different projects simultaneously, coordinating with other teams, and ensuring that all the tasks are completed on time. A slight negligence in management can lead to an increased workload. Managing everything can be a juggling act, but it can lead to an organized and streamlined workflow if done correctly.
Mistakes and errors can distract the reader and result in a poor user experience. One of the most critical but often overlooked aspects of technical writing is quality assurance. It is important to have a second pair of eyes to check the document for grammar mistakes, incorrect information, and inconsistency. As a technical writer, you need to be aware of the common mistakes during the editing and proofreading process.
Providing Support to Customers
Customer support is one of the most important aspects of a tech writer's job. Technical writers at Google often provide customer support via email and phone. They have to deal with different people and understand their concerns to provide them with a solution.
Supplementing and Updating Documentations
Technical writers often need to proofread documents written by other writers. They also have to supplement developer documentation with easy-to-follow user instructions and relevant sample code when required.
When software engineers make changes to any product, you need to ensure that the documentation is updated accordingly as a technical writer. It includes adding new sections, updating existing content, and deleting outdated information.
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What Do Google Technical Writers Write About?
The work of a technical writer at Google may vary according to the company they are working for. However, the following are some common subjects that Google technical writers generally write about:
As a Google technical writer, you can create helpful content that provides step-by-step instructions on using a product or service. Such content helps readers whenever they get stuck while using a product or service. For example, If a user is having trouble logging into their account, they can visit the help content to find a solution.
Technical writers also have to create online tutorials that teach people how to use a product or service. They can be in the form of written guides, video tutorials, or infographics. Such tutorials are usually longer and more detailed than help content.
Online tutorials help readers get a better understanding of the product and how to use it. With the help of illustrations and screenshots, they can easily follow the steps without any confusion.
Some of my teammates at Google create website content. It includes the text on the website, as well as the titles and meta descriptions of pages. They also develop sitemaps and ensure that the website is compliant with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Editing and Rewriting Existing Content
Most of the time, you are provided with existing content to edit and rewrite. This task includes correcting grammar mistakes, formatting text correctly, adding relevant images, and making sure the content is easy to understand. Editing and rewriting improve the quality of the content and make it more user-friendly.
Documenting Google Products and Services
Google technical writers have to document various Google products and services. Some technical writers deal with Google Hardware products, like the Chromecast and the Pixel phone. Other writers might demonstrate using Google Apps for work or school, like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar.
Google technical writers document how to use the Android operating system, Chromebooks, and other Google services. Some also document Google programming products, like Google Cloud Platform, Google Maps Platform, TensorFlow, and Firebase.
Some Google technical writers create and maintain documentation for internal usage. This type of documentation is used by Google engineers or Google employees when working on a product or infrastructure. It can be in the form of user manuals, process descriptions, or design specifications.
Documentation for External Engineers
Some Google technical writers also create and maintain documentation for software developers or engineers who develop apps and other digital products by utilizing Google products. This type of documentation is usually used by developers when coding a product. It can be in software development kits (SDKs), reference cards, or code samples.
Google Technical Writer Education Requirements
To excel in technical writing at Google, you must have a base education to help you in this field. The following are the essential education requirement for Google technical writers:
Writing is crucial for any technical writer because you need to have strong technical documentation skills. Excellent writing skills enable you to explain complex concepts in simple terms so that readers can understand them without any difficulty.
To write clearly, you must know how to research well and find information from a variety of sources. The internet is the first place to start, but you might also need to contact experts, read manuals, and search databases. To secure a technical writing position, you also need to refine your reading capacity.
Understanding Programming Languages
Understanding codes written in various computer languages is also essential. You can start by reading the documentation of popular programming languages such as Java, C++, etc. It would be best to have experience working with software engineers and product managers for a clear understanding of the product.
Communicating with Teammates And Customers
Since technical writers at Google provide customer support via email and phone, they need excellent communication abilities. They work with other teams to ensure that they have added all the relevant information in the document. Make your communication ability as effective as possible to easily coordinate with other groups. It will also help you understand the user's problems and provide them with an apt solution.
Technical writers coordinate with other teams and developers worldwide to learn amazing things and resolve various issues. They have to share detailed developer guides, online materials, conceptual documentation, API references, and several other things with other writers and developers. Without communication skills, this would not be easy to do. In some cases, they also need to communicate with engineers and get more information about the product or service to write comprehensive documentation.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Critical thinking and solving problems are essential for any technical writer. You might come across an issue when researching or writing a document. You need to identify the problem, find a solution, and implement it. Problem-solving skills enable you to think on your feet and come up with innovative solutions.
Leadership and Administrative Know-How
Administrative and leadership know-how is also vital for you to excel in tech writing. Technical writers at Google need to manage projects, work independently, and take the initiative. These skills help you resolve perplexing issues, work under pressure and manage a team of writers.
Qualifications and Experience Required for Becoming a Google Technical Writer
Experience and qualification count a lot when you go for a technical writing job at Google. Qualification and experience in the technical writing field can help you grasp the job easily. Following are the preferred qualifications and experience you need to get a Google tech writer job:
- To become a tech writer at Google, you need a bachelor's degree in English, technical writing, or equivalent practical experience.
- A minimum of five years of experience to get a Google tech writing position can also help you get a writing job easily.
- You need experience in CSS and HTML.
- Experience in the UNIX environment can also help you stay ahead of your competitors.
How can you become a technical writer at Google without a degree in technical writing?
You may not have a degree in technical writing, but if you have the passion and skillset required for this field, you can still make a successful career as a tech writer at Google. To become successful as a tech writer, you need to be adept in English and know how to use the right tech terms. You also need to write clearly and effectively so that the reader can understand the information without any trouble. You should be passionate about learning new tools and technologies to keep up with industry standards.
How Much Technical Writers at Google Make?
The salary of a technical writer varies depending on the level of experience, skills, and position they have in the company. The salary range of Google tech writers is from $51,465 to $197,385 per year. The average annual salary of a technical writer at Google is around $114,492 in the United States. Senior tech writers make an average of $170,678 per year.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break into the industry, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of writing and managing technical documentation.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.