What is technical writing?
Technical writing is a kind of writing or drafting that allows the author or the writer to communicate complex information. Writing about a specific subject that requires instruction, direction, or explanation.
Technical writing jobs involves writing by documenting the complex technical processes on the user manuals, journal articles, instructional manuals, white papers, quick reference guides, and user guides.
It is meant to provide the reader with a clear picture and very easy access to specific information about a specific item such as new technology, a new drug, or even a computer device.
The person who does technical writing jobs is called a technical writer.
A technical writer’s main job is to put the technical information into simple language that the reader can understand and digest quickly.
Most technical writers have a technical field educational background such as computer science, information development, engineering, and information technology.
A technical writer writes a number of documents depending on the industry they are employed in. For example:
• Executive summaries.
• User interface texts documents.
• Product descriptions.
• Technical reports.
• User manuals.
• Case studies and white papers
• Balanced scorecards.
• emails with technical information.
• Communicating technical information on websites.
Entry-level employees might be overwhelmed by the number of documents that technical writers work on. However, each of the documents has the same writing process.
This means that once you are able to develop one process, then you can be able to apply it to all the other forms of documents that you are creating, thus making your work easier.
Skills required in technical writing
In order for you to have success in your technical writing career, there is a set of core skills that you will need to master. They include:
Good research skills
Researching is the main skill that you will need as a technical writer. This is because, in order for you to create a good document, you have to first collect the data which can either be numerical or not thereafter changing the data into valuable information.
Research can be carried out on different platforms.
• Intranet publications.
• Collecting data online.
• On-site data.
• Research databases.
After good researching, that’s when you digest the data you’ve collected and started planning how you will organize your document.
It is very important that a technical writer understands the technic of the subject they are writing about. Since it is difficult to write on something you barely understand, technical skills are very key for any technical writer to have.
Most technical writers have either an educational experience or work experience on the content they are writing on. Technical skills are very important when it comes to technical writing.
Document designing skills
In most forms of technical writing, graphics are used for developing a comprehensive document that helps the reader to easily understand the information. This means that a good technical writer has to be proficient in graphic skills like the use of tables and charts and formatting skills that are part of document design.
A well-designed document will help the audience understand the information easily, while a poorly done document will make the content very hard for the audience to understand.
Good communication skills
To be a successful technical writer, good communication skills are very imperative. Since you will be working with many individuals and teams performing different roles, your capability to listen, communicate and record will be very crucial in your work.
Good writing skills
Good writing skills make your documents very easy to read and understand the audience. It is very important that your document has the right style, format and tone.
A document that lacks good wring skills can be very annoying to read, making the audience lose interest in the document. Most of the time, the employing organization outline these skills as the most important.
Proficiency in the use of digital tools
In the modern world, most technical writers are required to use multiple digital tools in the technical writing process. Technical writers are required to annotate images, use screen captures, create graphics and put data in tables and charts. This makes their proficiency in the use of digital skills very important.
Industries that employ technical writers
With the development of technology, most companies develop more technical processes as they search for more profit and higher efficiency. This makes them employ more technical writers. The industries include: