Introduction:

Hello, writing enthusiasts, looking to be more skilled in the field of technical writing and become successful at it? This blog is believed to be helpful to those who are already in the profession and those who want to begin their career in technical writing. 

Technical writing is about communicating specialized topics or technical topics with the use of technology like social media sites or websites. It also helps in providing a mandate about doing something in a detailed way. This writing style has neutral, clear, and direct information that should be presented in the most accessible and presentable way. The technical write-ups help in guiding the readers in using the information. The writer needs to have in-depth knowledge about the data so that they can include the crucial information with the elements to the readers. 

In technical writing, the planning phase is very important and takes much more time than writing. The planning and reviewing take much more time than writing a technical piece.

While planning to review the technical piece of writing one needs to go through the following process:

  • Understanding the requirements of the clients of the project;
  • Next trying to understand the audience i.e the readers, their expectations and needs;
  • After knowing the audience try to analyze the requirements as the user;
  • In the planning process try getting guide from the experts;
  • Once you are done preparing with the mind map start with the document preparation; 
  • Next is to try writing in the active voice with accurate word choice;
  • Put the focus on the sentence structure by avoiding too long or unnecessary words;
  • Once done try formatting by making it visually appealing;
  • After this, review and review the writing piece and make it free from errors related to grammar and spelling;
  • Once it’s linguistically correct, try reading from the audience’s point of view and make sure of making the necessary changes. 

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How is technical writing different from general writing?

Before knowing the tips to become a successful technical writer, you must know how technical writing is different from general writing. Technical writing and general writing aren’t similar in any way. The differences can be figured out from the following:

Sl

No.

Technical writing 

General writing

1

Focuses on facts and clear straightforward content

Focusses on general subjects 

2

Based on an objective tone

Based on a subjective tone

3

It follows a formal way of writing

It can be formal or informal

4

It has a standard structured format

It follows an artistic unstructured format

5

This piece of writing has a specific set of audience

This piece doesn’t have a targeted audience

6

It aims to impart instructions, pieces of information, and explanations

It aims to provide refreshment

7

It is archival.

It is non-archival.

Skills required to be a successful Technical Writer:

How to become successful as a technical writer? This question comes to everyone’s mind. Though the profession and write-ups seem to be straightforward and easy there are many hidden rocks and to be good or successful at there’s a lot more. If you are a technical writer or want to make a career in this industry then the following can be your checklist of skills to ace at:

  1. Writing skills: The most important and obvious skill that a technical writer needs to possess is writing skill. The main criteria of a technical writing piece are clarity of the text, the complicated ideas need to be put in simple words. Every writer possesses this skill but one must keep on polishing the skills to progress. To be a skilled writer and equipped with word choices and sentence structure one needs to read more. One can try attending sessions on training related to writing skills development.
  2. Technological skill: Technology keeps on changing, as this type of writing is all about technical things. So being at the pace with technology helps in working with the technical writing tools. A technical writer needs to be aware of all the technological updates. There are various information and tools available over the internet that can be used in technical writing. The technical writing tools are specifically designed for technical writing. An efficient technical writer must be aware of what tools been offered in the market and how to use them. Few in-demand technological skills are product development, project management, marketing, programming languages, and UX Design. 
  3. Research skills: Another important skill is research skills. One needs to do a lot of research and explore the products. The technical writing piece acts as the bridge between the client and the audience. So before writing about a particular product one must go through thorough research. Needless to say that we live in a changing world, so one must be updated with the latest information. Technical research can be divided into two parts: one is audience analysis, which includes understanding the targeted audience and the other is user experience, which includes explaining how convenient it is to use for the targeted users. 
  4. Communication skills: You might be guessing what’s the requirement of this skill in technical writing! But yes, it’s very important. Once a project has been assigned to the technical writer, it’s required to collect as much information as possible. The writer needs to communicate with the subject matter experts to generate accurate documents. They are the experts in that particular topic, they help in determining the purpose, guiding the idea, and gives final approval to the project. So the technical writer must have the ability to pay attention to what the experts say and note down the important notes. If there’s any doubt it needs to be cleared at the moment. After gathering all the required information try to analyze it before documenting it. Any kind of miscommunication can delay the final outcome. 
  5. Editing Skills: In technical writing, one should focus more on precise and accurate writing, and the next thing that comes in handy is editing skills. A technical writer is generally skilled in editing parts and formatting styles. In this field, this skill includes the proofreading part too. While writing a technical piece, be it a report or manual, usage of visuals and diagrams becomes useful for both the users and readers. It helps in making the final outcome more comprehensive. Effective writing in the technical field generally follows a single format of style. This type of writing prefers a suitable choice of words and direct sentences.  
  6. Audience Analysis Skills: To be successful in the technical writing field one must know to analyze the audience. This element is very much essential for one’s success. One must be aware of the audience if they are technically strong or not. If the audience knows less about the technical area then the writer’s text must be the least technical too. Before analyzing the audience, you should know who is the targeted audience, how much they know about the technical field, what’s their interest, needs, and also their occupation. The audience is the King, so it’s needless to say that revise your texts based on the targeted audience’s knowledge. 
  7. Understanding the end-users: Audience analysis and understanding the end-users are two different skills. As the audience might not be the overall users. The audience is the group for whom it needs to be written but users are more specifically whom we are writing for, they not only read the text but also uses it. The entire document is written determining the reader’s needs and answering all the questions in their mind. For the writers, it’s important to understand that if their users are expertise in the content or the topic or it is new to them. It’s better to understand what, when, and why the users will read the content. 
  8. Critical Thinking Skills: One of the most necessary skills for a technical writer is thinking critically. Critical thinking is the ability to make clear and reasonable judgments. It includes assembling information, analyzing, and organizing it. Critical thinking doesn’t come at once it requires personal experience in the field, the process of gathering and processing the information becomes more deliberate and hence the output becomes clearer. 
  9. Teamwork: Another skill for a technical writer is teamwork. Technical writers need to work with subject matter experts, editors, designers, developers, the documentation team, and many more. So in this field, a technical writer needs to have coordination along with the team members which will create a great value for any team producing the best outcomes. 
  10. Education: Last but not least that comes under the skill set is education. For being a technical writer there’s no requirement of specific background, but having a good command of English is mandatory. The most preferred bachelor degrees to become a technical writer includes Journalism, Communications, Computer Science Engineering, and English. There’s a lot of certification courses available in the field of technical writing. 

How to Start a Career in Technical Writing?

To start your career as a technical writer, it is important to develop the above-mentioned skills and mainly in research and analysis, writing, design, and formatting. In addition to that, the following steps help in outlining the process to apply the skills to become a successful technical writer:

  1. Bachelor’s degree: Technical writers enter this field with a degree but having a bachelor’s degree in communications, English, journalism, and Computer Science Engineering can improve the job prospects. In addition to this, developing the knowledge through additional training in specialized areas like engineering, data science, and medicine.
  2. Certification in technical writing: Though a certification in technical writing is optional, one can enhance their qualifications with a technical writing certification. If one’s plans to enter the scientific or medical writing fields, consider having a certification to increase the career prospects.
  3. Creation of the portfolio: Once you develop the technical writing ability, try collecting writing samples and start taking on small projects for your close acquaintances. Try to create the sample as you would do in a professional project and keep it in a portfolio. This can be used as a resource when you start applying for jobs to show to employers. This can work as a piece of evidence and demonstrate technical written communication skills.
  4. Build a professional network: Try to join groups of technical writers that are available on Linkedin, and try to attend the networking events where IT, scientific and medical professionals in fields may gather. As you start building your network, you will find opportunities to practice your skillset and boost your position as a qualified technical writer. For example, using network connections and group contacts for finding projects to contribute to. Similarly, try to volunteer with a professional acquaintance who needs a manual designed and printed.
  5. Develop industry knowledge: Developing one’s industry knowledge is very much important to grow as a technical writer. Always be up to date on your interested industry’s trends and the new developments associated with it to support your knowledge in the field. Being updated on the new technology and software, latest scientific research, or medical advances is very much important for planning and writing the project materials. If you choose to join a professional group, try using the resources that the network offers to be updated and informed about the latest updates for whichever field you are specialized in.
  6.  

Who Hires the Technical Writers?

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Technical writers are in great demand, it’s projected that the demand will grow 7-10% from 2019-2029 which is much faster than all occupations. But never forget where there is demand there is competition. So one must be self-equipped with skills to grab the opportunity. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2019 technical writers held 58,400 jobs. It includes 35% scientific and technical services, 15% manufacturing, 9% support and administrative services, and 6% at publishing industries. Aspirants are open to many options while applying for the job and also can contract with clients of their choice by themselves. 

Technically knowing who hires the Technical Writers are Software Publishers, Scientific Establishments, Engineering Companies, Technical Writing Companies, and also can work as Freelancer. Let’s get a brief insight on this as it will be much of benefits while applying as a technical writer: 

  • Software Publishers: The requirement of technical writers in software companies is to support the software programs. They need to work with the developers, create specifications of the products from the program function descriptions. They prepare to operate and user guides for easy access and usage by the users. 
  • Scientific Establishments: Technical Writers belonging or having science qualifications work in the scientific research establishments. They need to document the findings and manage them throughout the project. They need to work with the researchers for compiling the reports or developing the papers for presenting at conferences. 
  • Engineering Companies: They hires or employs technical writer to produce a wide range of documentation for product support. Creating product catalogs content, operating and maintenance manual, application and installation guides. For the companies that manufacture capital goods, the technical Writers need to prepare the proposal and functional specifications that form contract bids. 
  • Writing Companies: Technical Writing Companies or Editorial Consultancies hire a technical writer to produce content for their clients. Many companies use Editorial Consultancies when they have requirements occasionally for documentation. They might also take the help of the consultancies when they are unable to handle the workflow. 
  • Freelancing: This category works on their terms and comfort. They can take short-term or medium-term contracts. Some companies hire writers on a contract basis to work on particular programs. A strong portfolio is required to start the journey as a freelancer. 

What do Technical Writers Work on?

Technical writing includes the largest portion of technical communication. The technical writer works with the editors, illustrators, graphic designers, content managers, instructional designers, trainers, and document specialists. 

The technical writer works on demonstration, designing documents, knowledge-based articles, policy documents, product catalogs, proposals, reference guides, user manuals, websites, and white papers. They also work on the training course material, warning labels, simulations, how-to videos, process flows, etc. 

In the last 20 years, there’s been an enormous change in the field of technical writing from how it is researched, produced, and delivered. The technical writer needs to work on a content management strategy that includes delivering marketing, promotion, and technical between the organization, customers, investors, employees, and suppliers. The technical writer works in various industries to make complex processes and terms simple. Technical writers need to do a lot of research and outline data to generate many types of document that explains complex procedures, outline case studies and describe the interactions. In the IT industry, technical writers produce user guides and instructional manuals and teach the audiences to use different software applications.

Conclusion: 

Technical writers make complex information easier to understand by giving it focus and clarity. As science and technology are advancing the technical writing field is expanding according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. The technical writers translate complex information like computer procedures or engineering specifications into documents targeting the audience for a technical product that can be easily understandable. Technical writing is a profitable and prized skill considered to be valuable.

Any technical writer who can convey technical information to the audience is regarded as valuable to the company. So having the proper skill set is considered a real boost to the career. To be a successful technical writer isn’t an overnight deal, one needs to invest lots of effort. 

Technical writers are the perfect combination of English language and technology for converting complex information into the simplest form benefiting both the producer and user. They are an important part of the project contributing towards the development of the lifecycle of the product. Technical writers need to work on manuals, whitepapers, online help, etc.

Technical writers have the scope of moving towards the management side by having a minimum of 10years of experience. They manage other technical writers by analyzing their writings and suggesting other ways from their years of experience. Technical Writers are being hired by Software Publishers, Scientific Establishments, Engineering Companies, Technical Writing Companies, and also can work as Freelancers.

Technical writing is a growing and highly paid professionals in the field of writing. Though the majority are employed in the IT industry there are other sectors too hiring in this field. Good command over the language is an essential skill set for being a technical writer to be successful along with research skills, audience analysis, and understanding user experience. The technical write-ups help in guiding the readers in using the information. The writer needs to have in-depth knowledge about the data so that they can include the crucial information with the elements to the reader. While working on a particular project, don’t forget that the planning phase is very important and takes much more time than writing. The planning and reviewing take much more time than writing a technical piece. 

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FAQs

Q. Who is a technical writer?

Ans. A technical writer is an information communicator transferring technical information in the simplest form between two or more parties.

Q. What qualification is required for a technical writer?

Ans. Having a degree in Journalism, Communications or Computer Science Engineering, or English increases the chance of getting a technical writing job.

Q. Is technical writing a good career option?

Ans. Technical writing is considered to be one of the profitable and prized skills, so definitely, yes.

Q. Is there any benefit of having certification in technical writing?

Ans. Technical writing doesn’t come with a particular degree, so, yes, there are lots of benefits to being certified as a technical writer.

Q. What is the average salary of a technical writer?

Ans. The average salary of a technical writer who is a beginner is around 2.7 lakh pa and it increases with experience.

Q. What is the demand of the technical writers?

Ans. Technical writers are in great demand, it’s projected that the demand will grow 7-10% from 2019-2029 which is much faster than all occupations.

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7 Comments

  1. Mamta Purohit Reply

    Best technical writer class. i have complete my course from Henry Harvin. i really got good knowledge about technical writer .

  2. I was curious to learn about Technical Writing. This course could be a good subject matter to pursue for.

  3. I enjoyed learning technical writing course. Thank you for introducing such a complicated topic in the simplest possible way.

  4. mannat dubey Reply

    It was one of the informative blogs which I have read so far. Appreciate the hard work you made to make it simple and understandable.

  5. ajay kumar singh Reply

    This is such a great piece of content. It covers a wide range of information related to technical writing,qualification, job roles etc. Thanks for providing this useful blog post.

  6. mangesh kumar Reply

    It was one of the informative blogs which I have read so far. Appreciate the hard work you made to make it simple and understandable.

  7. shalini kapoor Reply

    Such a great content piece. I completed my graduation in science. And was searching about the information in Technical writing. This blog provides all the related details.

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