Skills Required in Technical Writing

Technical writing is now noticed and gaining recognition with time. Recently, I read about technical writing in the employment news. An article about technical writing was published on the front page. It indicates that people now looking technical writing as a career option. When I have joined as a technical writer, nobody knows about this field. I need to explain about my profession, when someone asked me about it. It makes me quite disappointed when I found that nobody knows about this profile. But, now as I tell somebody about my profession, people praise my work.

The qualities of a good technical writer include analyzing, writing, interviewing, and instructional designing skills. To be a good technical writer, you should be able to understand complex subjects quickly, and explain them in an easy language. You should be able to identify your audience, and explain the things in a simple way. You should be able to write clear, concise, error free, and user friendly documents. Personal and technical attributes are also necessary for a good technical writer.

  • Personal Attributes: As a technical writer, you should be a good listener, and quick learner. You should have good communication and writing skills. You must know organizing your thoughts in a better way, and write them accurately. You should be creative, focused, and able to interact with end users.
  • Technical Attributes: Generally, people having degrees in journalism, English literature, mass communication, and engineering are preferred for technical writing. However, it is not stable, and varies from company to company. For example, a software company prefers a person with technical or engineering backgrounds whereas, a company into media and publication prefers a person with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

With the increase in desktop publishing work, technical writers are increasing regularly. These technical writers are responsible for the publication of books, courseware’s, graphics, and document design. Major tools used by technical writers are as follows:

  1. Microsoft Word
  2. Adobe RoboHelp
  3. Adobe FrameMaker
  4. Adobe Captivate
  5. Adobe Dreamweaver
  6. Adobe Photoshop
  7. Adobe PageMaker
  8. Adobe Acrobat
  9. HTML Help
  10. Snag It
  11. Macromedia Authorware
  12. Epic Editor
  13. Web works

These are certain tools generally used in technical writing. However, if you are not familiar with these tools, you can learn them with time. There are online tutorials available to learn these tools at your own. You can also learn these tools using the Help section included in the software. Some companies hire freshers (having no experience) for technical writing, and train them on these tools. But, if you have the knowledge to work on these tools, then it will give you an advantage in job search.

After all, technical writing is the field of professionals who know “how to keep the balance of content, grammar, and style to achieve the goal”. As a technical writer, you have to produce quality documents that help people to learn, and use the technology easily. You may ask to write documents for people who have different experience level on the technology. So, always keep your target audience in mind while writing.

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