So, you’re thinking of becoming a technical writer.
There’s good reason why this is field is in demand. For the writer, there’s satisfaction in helping people. Employers are looking for good writers who have decent writing skills. And it’s not that bad of a career.
There’s pretty lot to technical writing. For one, people skills. Interviewing and listening skills are needed to ask the right questions. Often times the only place to get the right information for projects is from engineers and specialists. Personal skills in technology include the use of computers to document and communicate to others what they need to know through text or videos. Hence, today’s newer term as a technical “communicator”; i.e., getting your message across through many types of media if necessary–the web, videos, power points, etc.
You need knowledge of an applied science. That simply means that you have some insight into some of today’s practical applications that include inventions or up-to-date advancements and research in the fields of chemistry, biology, electronics, engineering, computers, or anything else that benefits people and their environment.
And for those who are sitting on the fence…
Think about the time you’ve read confusing assembly instructions (for example), and believed that you could’ve done better. Or, have you explained an idea, concept, or directions to someone so that they understood it?
This is basically what a technical writer does. A popular, generic description of what tech writers do is: They take complex (or confusing) concepts, simplify those ideas, and put those ideas on paper in a clear and concise manner.
Technical writers come from many backgrounds, so there isn’t any certain type of person who does this.
You’ll have to ask yourself if you have the motivation, the desire to write, a desire to learn, and the ability to become a technical writer.
Only you can decide that.
- High end schooling?
It’s not required, although that’s valued in many workplaces.
- Software skills?
If you’re on a computer, chances are you have that already.
- Are on-the-job skills needed?
That’s preferred. However, no one (and that goes for tech writers) had started their first job with “on-the-job” skills.
- Basic grammar skills.
If you speak English fluently, you already have the basics.
- Competency in writing.
Hone your skills and convince the hiring manager that you can get the job done.
- What if your writing skills are poor?
Then improve them. No one is born with good skills.
I really can’t think of any. If there’s anything that will mess up your day, it will be the people you work with, not the writing projects you’ve been assigned.
Why this site was created.
Tech Writing 101, as the URL implies, was created as a resource for technical writers. It’s also a site for those of you that are thinking of becoming one.