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A Career In Technical Writing

Feb 29, 2008
Technical writing calls for an understanding of certain technical tools and effective written communication. Its main purpose is to convey technical information in the simplest form to a target audience. You do not require any special training or experience to start a career as a technical writer.

To become a technical writer, you need to have the desire to work in a challenging technical field. You do not need to be a technical person to succeed in this field - you just need to understand the importance of documenting technical work in a user-friendly manner.

Areas of Work

Technical writers work in a number of fields. They are in demand in almost every field of work, especially the software and hardware industries. Technical writers are also required in the field of chemistry, robotics, consumer electronics, biotechnology industry and aerospace industries.

The main task of a technical writer is to translate technical information into an accurate, readable, understandable and accessible form. Some of the major areas of work of a technical writer include proposals, sales promotions, catalogs and instruction and assembly manuals. Technical writing also involves rewriting various design specifications, managing chart preparation, diagrams and illustrations and planning, preparing and editing technical material.

Technical writing is more about explaining complicated technical subjects and not developing creative literature. Though it is a very rewarding field, you need you need to understand the technology thoroughly. In a world of rapid technological advancements, technical writers need to work independently, as engineers and programmers may not be available every time to explain each step. The ability to understand technology on your own is considered an advantage for technical writers.

Technical writers need to determine the target audience for a particular project to write in a simple, non-technical manner. It calls for a fair familiarity with the project at hand. As a technical writer needs to handle different types of audience, it is essential to be able to write difficult technical matter in simple English. For example, if a technical writer writes about a how-to play a DVD player, it needs to be able to be understood by a user as well as a DVD technician, who has advanced knowledge about the device.

Technical Writing Courses

Technical writing courses mainly focus on documenting specifications and user manuals for computer software. They also provide instruction on writing manuals on technology like kitchen appliances, vacuum systems, medical device manuals, construction equipment and more. Therefore, it is important for you to decide on the area that you are interested in and evaluate technical writing courses. It will help you understand the prerequisites of working as a technical writer in a particular field.

A technical writing course enables you to understand, organize and present technical aspects in a polished form of documentation. There are a number of online technical writing courses. There are also many universities that offer technical writing courses through accredited online programs.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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