A documentation manager is a role associated with producing manuals, typically for complex products such as computer hardware or software. A documentation manager often writes, reviews and edits content, in addition to managing a team of technical writers. The documentation manager is generally responsible for understanding the audience and creating content to meet specific needs, such as demonstration, training to get users startedm and expert reference materials.
Types of Deliverables
Documentation managers develop release notes, assembly-and-installation instructions, online help systems, training materials, reference documentation and possibly Internet-based content such as wikis and blogs. The documentation manager works with engineering, quality assurance, technical support, sales and marketing personnel. Working with the development team, the documentation manager generates project proposals and manages the time line to complete the products, according to the overall schedule. The documentation manager typically designs and manages the packaging, too.
Many documentation managers work closely with engineers to prepare design specifications tailored for end users. They plan and execute documentation usability studies, which help to improve product design. Documentation managers review the work of subordinate writers and editors. They also oversee the design and development of illustrations, charts, diagrams and other supplementary content such as multimedia components.
Details, Organization and Good Education
Documentation manager positions typically require a bachelor's degree and a minimum of two years leading document projects. Five or more years experience in documentation and technical writing also might be required. You must have good time management and organizational skills. The ability to pay attention to details is crucial to success. For complex projects, a master's degree or a doctorate may be required.
Better than Average Outlook
Technical writing will experience faster growth than average, at 15 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a growing demand for more technologically sophisticated products and more medical products, which should drive the need for documentation specialists.
Wages for Writers and Managers
The average annual wage for technical writers is $67,900, as of May 2013, according to the BLS, and the top percent earn more than $105,760. Managers in scientific and technical consulting services average $69,460.
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