Ohh so you have chosen the technical writing niche. Good decision. Not a vast number of people choose this technical writing niche as it requires a more logical and technical tone.
If technical writing is what interests you much, but you are unaware of where to start, then here is the stepwise guide on how to get into technical writing.
To become a good technical writer, your job will be of understanding the technical stuff and writing it in such a creative way that your audience can easily understand it without the need for prior knowledge.
If you are ready to stand out in technical writing, stick to the end of the article to steal some great advice for establishing yourself as an expert technical writer.
What are the main skills for getting into technical writing?
With time investment you can develop any skill. If you already have these skills you can directly start working but if not you must know what are the areas of skills development for technical writing.
Technical writing/communication is the process of converting complex information into easily understandable form by using various infographics or media including user manuals, training guides, online help systems, or other means.
So for this purpose develop skills like the following to get into technical writing:
- Logical understanding
- Creative writing to develop easily understandable content
- Intellectual skills.
- Understanding your audience’s needs.
You can work as a full-time technical writer or on a contractual basis. Most of the projects are large and need more time to complete. But these projects will also pay you high.
Get started by following these 3 simple steps
You know there are just 2 main focus points you need to become a good technical writer. They are a proven aptitude for tech writing and the other and foremost is the desire to work as technical writers.
To gain some experience as a beginner it is advisable to get started with the skills you have and you can furnish them as you get more industry exposure. But remember the world these days is getting more competitive, so if you want to take technical writing as a serious career you should obtain specific qualifications.
The 3 major steps that you should follow to get into technical writing are:
- Obtain a technical writing/communication degree.
- Be a part of society to enroll in technical communication.
- Join seminars or webinars or enroll in related education courses.
Below are the detailed descriptions for each point.
Pursue the technical writing degree
Earlier only a few colleges offered a degree program in technical communication. But as time flew, companies felt the need for good technical communicators who possesses the right communication skills to convey complicated technical information to the layman in an easier and more creative way.
Even if the colleges were not offering degrees in this field, companies started to hire technical writers and trained them in-house.
But we are in a transformed era now. Many universities and colleges have included technical communication degrees in their curriculum. There are also graduate programs in this field and many colleges or universities provide placement drives for their alumni.
If you are applying today for the job, remember that your competitors might be having a degree in this field and may outshine you. You might not get selected for this role if you are an absolute beginner in technical communication.
Be a part of society to enroll in technical communication.
If you are wondering why should you enroll in the society for technical communication, here are some advantages of joining a professional technical communication society which will compel you to agree with me:
- You will have great career advice.
- Chance to get into education seminars and conferences.
- Network with potential employees and fellow technical communicators.
- Get access to salary database on discount.
- Specialize in a specific technical communication field through SIGs(special interest groups).
- Get a discount on the price of certificate courses and on insurance programs.
- Gain knowledge of updated job listings by having access to the STC job bank.
Although you get a discount for being a student member, the membership can still be a bit pricey. But being an STC member gives the idea to employers that you are serious about getting into technical writing.
Join seminars or webinars or enroll in related education courses.
Since it is a digital era, it keeps on transforming, and with each new phase, you have to update and upskill yourself regularly. For this, you will need a mentor. Since mentors can’t be available for you every time, there are seminars, webinars, or courses available to help you in learning.
You may find these seminars conducted by professional training organizations, or local colleges, or some are directly available through the STC.
Here are some specific areas where you need to be updated for technical communication:
- Upcoming trends in tech.
- Tools usage.
- Communication and writing skills.
You may be asked to check and analyze the other factors of a project like usability, testing, or project management.
Can you switch to technical writing with prior experience in a different niche?
The answer is “yes”. If you are a writer who worked in a different niche or you belong to the branch of marketing communication or journalism, you can switch to technical communication anytime. But the pre-requisite is that you must take additional training.
The marketplace is getting more saturated which increases the competition and only those can survive who have polished skills. So we recommend you additional training. If you are confused about how to switch to technical writing, you can follow the steps mentioned above.
If you have some prior experience in tech communication, build up your portfolio showing your work background. You can also ask for references from your friends or relatives. But to get into technical writing, we strongly recommend you take up education courses or join STC.
Go build your dream career in technical writing
The steps mentioned above are helpful only if you implement them. So go ahead and start today to get into technical writing. You may leave whatever queries you have in the comments below but don’t leave with queries in your head. If you are already a technical writer, mention some suggestions on how this article was and what extra can be included in it.
Here are some additional resources you can go through for extra knowledge in the field of technical writing.
All the very best for your tech writing career. Waiting for your comments below.