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How to become a technical writer

What would be the steps to becoming a technical writer? #college #science #computer #degree #japan #technical #bachelors #etc

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Raghu’s Answer

As per my experience there are no steps to becoming a technical writer. You must have the passion to learn and have interests in technologies or any field of your choice even if you do not have the education or knowledge of the technology - I am not a software developer but I had the passion to learn how things work and I did not have the degree to become a developer, and technical writing gave me the opportunity to learn and expalin how things work with words.
To become a good technical writer you need to
- Listen and Comperehend
- Good communication skills
- Passion to learn new technologies
- Good understanding power
- Ask questions no matter how stupid they may seem to you
- Think as a layman

There are many resources availble on the internet for you to learn and train yourself to become a technical writer for various domains. You can check

With respect to tools you must take training on DITA-XML, Markdown etc. Search for information mapping and learn what it is.

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi Adakis,

Most job descriptions ask for a bachelor's degree in English, Journalism, or a related field. A lesser degree, such as an Associate's degree, might get you an interview for some positions. However, if competition is stiff, an advanced degree might be necessary to give you an edge above competitors.

Many universities now offer writing programs with a focus on technical or professional writing. Some of these courses will be managed by the university English department. You may also find technical writing courses in the Engineering program. Talk to an advisor or admissions officer if you have questions about what courses and degrees are available. You may find that the course content differs quite a bit depending on which department manages the course. For example, classes in the Engineering program may have more of a technical focus than those offered as part of an English program.

If you don't have a college degree, you may still be able to land a job as a technical writer. Any previous job experience that relates to technical writing should help. For example, if your previous jobs required a lot of writing or communications skills, employers may see that as a sign that you can handle the responsibilities of a technical writing job.

Many schools are now offering technical writing certification programs. These programs can usually be completed much more quickly than an actual degree, and might help you transition into the field. If you pursue this option, be sure that the certification program covers the core skills, tools, and other subject matter that you will need to work in an entry-level technical writing position. Certification might also give you an edge over other candidates if you already have a degree and some experience in the field, or if you are trying to build a freelance business.

Be sure to make the best of your education. Spend as much time as possible networking with fellow students who are entering the field, and with instructors that have business connections and professional contacts. The friends you make during college might provide valuable job contacts in the future; also, you can offer each other mutual support when you have career decisions to make or are struggling with difficult research questions.

What to learn
To become a technical writer, you must first develop the skills necessary to complete documentation projects. In addition to a traditional education, you can also consider certification programs and training from software or tool vendors. Here is a list of the abilities you will need to develop.

  • Tool knowledge (in-depth word processing, HATT, HTML/XHTML, etc.)

  • Information gathering and working with subject matter experts

  • Project management (scheduling, deadlines, facilitating reviews, etc.)

  • Writing concisely

  • Editing and proofing

  • Publishing and delivery process (probably job-specific)

  • Research

More important tips on:

Good Studies!

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Charles M’s Answer


I agree 150% with Daniela above when she said, "To become a technical writer, you must first develop the skills necessary to complete documentation projects. "

The way I became a technical writer was I got a degree in Electrical Engineering and was hired by the Boeing Company as a technical writer, "because it was easier to teach an engineer to write, than it was to teach a writer to engineer". Once you become a technical writer and start associating with engineers, you will learn that most engineers can't write, so that helps you understand why it was so painful for me to learn to be a technical writer. I eventually wrote two avionics maintenance manuals for Boeing 777 aircraft, and updated lots and lots of repair manual for avionics on other Boeing Aricraft. The writing skills I learned as a technical writer have been very helpful in my career.

Other technical writers became technical writers after they had years of experience in technical areas and mastered the technical knowledge, and also learned how to write a long the way by writing technical documentation.

I suggest you find out more about the profession by investigating the Society for Technical Communication

Before you choose that career direction, I suggest you make sure that you are the kind of person that will function well in a technical documentation role and in the documentation environment.

Here's a few statements of note I found in various job descriptions over the years for technical writers

Translates technical and/or complicated information into clear, concise documents appropriate for various target audiences.
Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment with strict deadlines
Demonstrated ability to produce high-quality work as part of a fast-paced, dynamic team
Proven ability to effectively communicate with others to achieve desired results; must be approachable
Demonstrated ability to work independently and with little supervision
Ability to adhere to corporate standards and styles
Ability to manage multiple projects within strict deadlines
Ability to take initiative and handle various tasks simultaneously, while working under minimal supervision.
Efficient in time management and able to thrive in a fast paced, dynamic work environment with tight deadlines.
Strong analytical skills and desire to understand and explain the unknown.
Excellent organizational skills.
Excellent communication skills both verbal and written.
The ability to communicate effectively with technical and non-technical individuals.
Ability to work with both technical and end user staff to elicit relevant information.
Ability to break down very complex subjects into easily understood presentations.
Self-motivated, detail orientated individual with good organizational skills.
Ability to work in a team oriented environment.

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Marina’s Answer

Most people who love reading and writing take up technical writing thinking that it is something they will enjoy doing. Technical writing is different from creative writing. It involves writing about products for an audience in simple language. You have to be concise and precise with your writing. The purpose of documentation is to help users to be comfortable with a product and utilize all the features that
it offers.

Good communication skills, analytical skills, and ability to learn new technology quickly are all skills that a technical writer should possess. In most organizations the environment would be agile, so you should be able to communicate effectively to gather information and complete documentation within set deadlines.

Documentation requirements vary in different organizations. For some jobs, a degree in communication or journalism is fine. There are also organizations that only employ engineers or people with a degree in computer science because their products are complex and require people with a technical background for documentation.

However, there are people who have come from a non technical background and discovered that they have a flair for technology; and have provided excellent documentation.