Technical Writing as a Career

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Would you like to start a new career but couldn’t find a suitable job in the market or the competition may have been too stiff? Why not try technical writing.

Do have any idea on the job?

You may be reluctant to venture on a work that is unpopular and not-so-famous. The existence of such position itself is your question at this moment. But this is what I can assure you, technical writing is as old as the first television set ever built. It is because the individual who wrote the users’ manual you consulted for you to operate the appliance is a technical writer.

Technical writers or technical communicators are individuals who write, update, or edit technical documents such as instruction manuals, product bulletins or datasheets, specification sheets, white paper, etc. They interview subject matter experts (SMEs) to collect information and translate this information into a comprehensible and understandable language. They filter out details that are not important for the public to know.

Others said that technical writers do not possess SME knowledge and expertise but truth is, it is an option for a technical writer to be an expert on what he is writing. Technical writers can be equally knowledgeable with the product developers especially in cases in which only single technical writer is assigned to update a specific data sheet and manual. In fact, I know individuals (technical writers) who were consulted by technical support regarding product queries.

Like creative writers, technical writers do follow writing formats. The statements should be direct, in active voice, and in first person. But unlike creative writing, technical writing does not use figures of speech, extensive vocabularies, sophisticated writing styles, and Shakespeare-inspired manuscript.

Technical writing does not require any specific course. That will be dependent on the type of product you will be writing about. Doctors, nurses, medical technologist, and other medical related professionals can write about laboratory and medical equipment and apparatus. Computer engineers, computer scientist, and IT professionals can venture to application programming interface (API) or script (programs) writing. Electronics and Electrical Engineers can write about appliances, computers, cellphones, and other electronic devices. Lawyers and political and social scientists can venture to white papers. Other scientists, engineers, and professional can write on anything they want to. The main criteria to get into the job is passion in writing and willingness to learn.

MS Word is the most common tool used in technical writing but other companies invested to Adobe InDesign. I admit, it is my job that help me to get through the hidden tools of MS word to maximize its usage. Adobe InDesign, on the other hand, is an excellent tool most especially in writing/laying out marketing materials.

Does technical writing interest you this time? Look for a company and keep it!

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