Writing is a skill, art, profession, and passion for many of us. In writing, symbols are used to express thoughts and ideas in a readable format. Alphabets, numerals, punctuation, spaces and, special characters are used to communicate in written form. It can be done by using a pen, pencil or, keyboard for typing. There are mainly 4 types of writing namely descriptive, narrative, expository and persuasive. It is necessary to master the art of writing to become a professional writer in the world of inkers.

What is Technical Writing?

The Society of Technical Communication defines Technical writing as “ any form of communication that refers to technical or specialized topics such as medical procedures, computer applications, electronic appliances, and environmental regulations.”

The purpose of technical writing is to educate, informing or guiding some on how to do something correctly to avoid any accidents.

Examples of Technical writing :

  1. Manual of electronic appliances like television, camera, washing machine, or cell phone.

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2. How-guide for using laptops.

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What is the function of a technical writer?

A technical writer performs a variety of task that are as follows:

1.Write professional documents  that is free of errors. This is done by first brainstorming on the topic and outlining the structure and produce a clear and concise document for the end-user.

2.Communicate technical concepts like medical procedures, computer applications, manufacturing and, engineering processes.

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 3. Research and evaluation of complex information and creating of documents.

 4.Study the target audience and define the project requisites and outline the content  presentation, design documents using a graph, chart and images and tone

 The five traits of a technical writer accuracy of expression, accessibility of the subject matter, conciseness in writing, clarity and audience recognition.

Example of technical writing  :  table of contents for induction cooktop manual.

CONTENTS

Contents Page No
Important safeguards 3
Unique feature of  xyz induction cooktop 6
Benefits of  xyz induction cooktop 7
Know your xyz induction cooktop 8
How to use your xyz induction cooktop 9
Selection of vessels 13
Maintenance & Cleaning 14
Trouble shooting 15
Error codes 16
Technical Specifications 16
Warranty card 17
Warrant card (customer copy) 18
Regional Service Centres 20

How to become a technical writer without experience ?

To become a technical writer  without  experience, it is essential  to possess  skills in written communication, design and formatting, research and analysis.

  1. A graduation degree in any field

2. List of samples to show to clients

3. A technical writer certification from reputed institute like Henry Harvin

4. Signed up in  professional network in sites like linked.in

5. Upgrade  industry knowledge

TIPS to become a good technical writer

  1. Be proactive about your technical writing skill development

It is necessary to do your prepare yourself before enrolling for a degree program in technical writing. You can do this proactively by improving your written communication in areas of outlining, editing and, designing content. You can also learn the meaning of complex terminology used in technical writing.

2. Focus your development in one niche

Decide on your niche you are interested in writing and build your knowledge and technical    writing skills in that field. You can study and understand the tone, style and, content appearance used in the documents of your niche and practice these techniques on your project and assignments.

3. Learn and develop web design skills

You can also learn web design skills along with technical writing skills that will help to produce better content. For this, you can join an online course to enable yourself to perform this activity.

4. Create online courses for tech writers               

You can start teaching others about your field and how to apply the various technical and communication skills. This will help you tohave a deeper understanding of the subject and elements of technical writing to become a technical writer without experience. You can do this by creating short video courses on an online platform like youtube channel and impart education to others.

5. Familiarize yourself with coding

You can also learn the different coding languages like basic , HTML, CSS, Mysql , PHP, and, Javascript. This will help the writers to improve the logical reasoning that is also required in technical writing. This is important because it will help you showcase your technical writing skill in a better way.

How to get started as a Technical writer :

Enroll for an online course:

Although if you don’t have prior knowledge or experience as a technical writer. It is easy to get started by enrolling for a technical writing course. This course will help you to understand the concepts of technical writing and make you an expert writer.

Enroll for a computer and typing course:

You can also join a computer and typing course. This course will help you understand the basics of computer operation like MS-Word and internet usage. If you do not know computer typing you can enroll for it by joining an online course and get a certificate of completion. It helps to do technical writing without any hassle.

Go online and read technical journals:

You can enhance your knowledge by reading various online journals like Slashdot, techcrunch, Cnet and, Wired. There is an ample number of articles written on hardware, software, networks,apps and how technology works and how people use it.

Learn about the tools in technical writing:

There are many tools available to make writing easier. The tools available are Madcap, Robohelp, Adobe Indesign, writebox , phrase expander, grammarly and Microsoft word.

Write for free:

You can also do volunteer writing for small businesses like short user guide. This will help you get a wealth of experience in the field of technical writing.

Practice writing:

Go online and search for an open-source program and write short manuals or quick reference guide. Then ask someone who knows about technical writing to read it and give feedback. Practice makes man perfect. So keep practicing till you sharpen your technical writing skills.

Important points to be remembered after getting started:

  1. Research and Exploration Skills

As we live in ever- changing world , there is a need to get updated with the latest information even though you may or may not be subject matter expert. Most technical writers start their careers as ghostwriters for any outsourcing company. This means that you have to deal with many types of clients whom you have heard of.

Writing software documentation is a tough task. So doing research and exploration is essential to overcome this issue.

2. Being Systematic

Some user guide and manuals are so big and complex that it is necessary to write software documentation systematically. Poorly structured documentation ruins the user experience as it fails to fulfill its primary function that is to provide the user with easy attainable data. Also, the technical writer suffers because it is hard to maintain the user guide. It is necessary to plan the documentation structure well in advance to avoid any goof up.

3. Teamwork

A technical documentation team has to work and communicate with other departments like editors, designers and, developers A user guide can be written only when its author knows how everything works and thus lot of communication and inquiries has to done while writing technical documents.

4. Use of Single-Sourcing Tool

There is a tool for technical writers known as single-sourcing which is a time saver for any tech writer. It helps to get more things done without additional effort. You can publish your content in various output format like HTML, PDF, Mobile and can also use the same piece of content as building blocks to write documents for several other products or variants instead of copy and paste.

5. Sociology

Technical documents are created for users of some product or service. So each product or service has its core users and target audience. A technical writer has to identify who the core user are and then start the writing process. A striking example is of difference between B2C and B2B user guides. The explanations used in the B2C user guide is simple and lucid . While in the B2B , it more complex and detailed.

6. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking means the ability to make reasoned and clear judgments. it includes collecting information, analyzing and systematizing it. Thus, This is one of the necessary skills for a technical writer must have in his kitty.

Technical writing best practices:

Write in Simple English

Practice minimal writing

Write document in a consistent, clear, and correctly

Ensure documents  has full information

The content should be pertaining to product or services

No expression of human feeling

Use active voice

Write in short sentences

Use more of white space

Structure the content as chunks of information

Use bullet  point and numbered list

Optimize the content with right keywords

Edit and proofread the content

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs)

  1. Are technical writers in demand?

The number of technical writers is projected to grow 8 per cent from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than the average for all other types of occupation. There is a large number of multinational companies wanting to hire technical writers for their companies. An increase in Web-based product support will also increase demand. Candidates having technical skills like web design are likely to have better job opportunities.

2. Is Technical Writing a good career choice?

Of course, yes. This is because technical writing is versatile and highly commercialized field compared to other types of writing. eg. creative writing . Thus it is a good career choice.

3. Can technical writing be creative?

Technical writing also involves creativity because while writing documentation for products it is necessary to imagine from user perspective and how the user is going to implement the instructions given correctly. So creativity also goes hand in hand with technical writing.

4. Do technical writers need a degree?

A college degree in any field is usually required for a position as a technical writer. However, a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, technical or, communication are preferred more. Along with this experience in any technical subject like computer science, web design or engineering is also important.

  • Who hires technical writers?
  • Software Publishers hire Technical writers to write documentation to support software programs.
  • Scientific Establishments hire Technical writers with science qualifications to work in research establishments.
  • Engineering Companies hire technical writers to write instruction manuals, journals, newsletters.
  • Editorial Consultancies
  • 5. Can technical writers work from home?

 Yes. Technical writers can also work from home. It requires a laptop with an internet connection.       Technical writers typically works remotely as part of a team of writers to produce manuals, documents for businesses

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2 Comments

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