Technical Writing: Growing Opportunities
Technical writing is a promising field to get into. It is predicted that the demand for this job is going to grow by 8% until 2028. That is faster than the national average, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.So, if you want to get into a promising field then you should try tech writing. So, now the question is how you can get started. If you want to through a formal study period to become a technical writer, then there are several technical writing courses that you can take up.
This article will look into the possible courses that you can pursue to become a tech writer and some other important information that you need to know about this career.
Technical Writing Basics
There are a few things that you need to know when it comes to having a technical writing career. First of all, we need to understand what it is exactly.
In the past, technical writing was all about the writing of manuals and guides. Mostly, these documents are intended for internal use. Meaning, the people who used those documents are insiders and are knowledgeable of the jargon used within the company. In the past common documents written by technical writers mostly limited to the documents used within the company or industry.
The definition and the scope of the job of tech writers have expanded in the past few years. It has now grown to include any documentation that requires technical knowledge or anything that outlines technical details. So the role of a technical writer may vary from industry to industry and even company to company.
Even those who are designated as technical writers can be performing technical writing now. A person who works in a highly scientific or technical field is doing some kind of technical writing now, whether they realize it or not.
What Makes It Different from Other Forms of Writing?
Some people might confuse technical writing with other forms of writing. For instance, some may confuse it with business writing. In reality, business writing is a broader category that covers most technical writing. You can say that technical writing is a the type of business writing that deals with technical details and information.
Technical writing skills are mostly different from those that are needed for creative writing. In the latter, imaginative and figurative language is very much needed. With technical writing precise language that can explain technical details in the simplest form possible is the best option.
Technical Writing Salary
One thing that you might be asking now is how much you can earn as a tech writer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers earn a median salary of $72,850 per year or
$35.03 per hour, which is a very good rate. But keep in mind that’s the median salary. You can get a much lower salary when you are starting out and it can increase as you can more experience in the field.
What Skills Do You Need
But what are the skills that you would need if you were to go into the technical writer specialisation? Here are several skills that you will need should you decide to try this profession:
Mastery of English
Yes, it is crucial that you have a very firm grasp of the English language. While you may not need a very rich vocabulary or a mastery of poetic language, you need to have a very solid grasp of English language grammar and rules. Your spelling must be good too although there are tools for checking that.
Good Communication Skills
Communication skills would be the ability to speak and communicate with other people. You need to know how to speak with your writing to make others understand. This involves the ability to place yourself in other people’s shoes. In some ways, this is a skill that you can develop.
Mastery of Online Tools
In the past, technical writers are stuck with using typewriters when writing their documents. They are very limited to what they can do. These days however there are a lot of tools, both online and offline that can help you in crafting different documents.
Knowledge of Formatting Guidelines
Some technical documents will have to follow the formatting guidelines. These guidelines can be tricky since there are slight differences but for those who know them, those differences matter a lot. Also, a professional document is expected to follow those guidelines exactly.
Technical Writing Courses
Are you really interested in becoming a technical writer now?
Then here are some of the available courses that you can take up:
Coursera is one of the biggest platforms for online courses. It offers courses from some of the best institutions of higher learning in the world. So, a technical writing course there is sure to be worth your time. You’re sure to learn a thing or two there.
This is another free platform. The technical writing course there can give you a great overview of the field and what you can expect. It’s definitely a great way to get started learning about tech writing.
If you prefer video courses to learn about technical writing then this channel is the one to go for. It also covers the topic of business writing which will let you explore other fields. Some people prefer video lessons and if you are one of those, then you should check out this channel.
Since it’s under medium, this course has a different format from the others on this list. Instead of being one continuous course, it gathers different articles from various authors and compiles them together.
This is not actually a course but more like a blog where various articles about technical writing are gathered together. You can spend your time reading through the articles. The only issue is that your learning may not be systematic but it’s a great way to have your start on tech writing.
Those are just some of the free courses that you can try when you want to learn about technical writing. Some of these courses are pretty basic but they should be enough to point you in the right direction. You can try other courses when you are done with the ones from this list.