Technical Writing as a Professional Career

Technical writing has become one of the most competitive and high-paying fields of professional writing, since a couple of years, due to the increase in demand for documentation of technical documents and manuals. Credit for popularity goes to the new discoveries and inventions in science and technology, which are taking place at a pace faster than ever.

Technical writing has also become a necessity because companies find it extremely important to communicate to both the techy and non- techy users about the new technology products, models and processes.
Job Description of a Technical Writer
How do I Become a Technical Writer?

You can always become a technical writer provided you have a degree, diploma or a high level of interest in any technical field such as computer software, chemistry, physics, mechanics; plus a good knowledge and understanding of the objective style practiced in technical writing.
Opportunities for Technical Writers

Due to recession, companies are laying off even their most technical and significant staff. If you have graduated in a technical field and are unable to find a suitable job or a technical person who recently lost job, you can always make thousands of dollars by putting your technical knowledge to writing.
Process of Becoming a Technical Writer

The process of becoming a technical writer includes proficiency acquirement in 2 areas:

1. Knowledge of the targeted technical field
2. Good command over objective style of writing

Technical writing is totally unlike creative or essay writing where you have to develop or expand and idea by giving in your thoughts or analysis. This is a form of professional writing where you have to reports procedures, processes and instructions in a very off handed yet simple manner.
Popular Technical Writing Fields and Careers

Through this article, you will be able to find the currently popular best technical writing fields.
Computer Software

Companies are increasingly creating and upgrading software applications. The development indicates the significant need of technical writers because with every new piece of software developed, there is a dire need to write manuals, marketing materials, training guides, how-to guides and troubleshooting manuals for the users.

This technical material is also helpful for the helpdesk staff as they find it easy to provide solutions and troubleshooting tips to the customers online and on phone. Computer software is an ever evolving field and rarely stagnant; so there will always be a demand for technical writers.
Computer Hardware

Manufacturers for computer hardware and equipment are mostly in search of technical writers who could create operational manuals, instructional and troubleshooting guides for end users. These manuals are not only helpful for the customers but also those who would use these hardware parts to create finished products.
IT Technology

We are living in a world where every other thing is technology based. Take a look at your cell phones, laptops, television sets, DVD players, electronic appliances and gadgets; all employ technology in one way or the other. Companies making tech based products are always on the hunt for writers who have penchant for technology.

As a technical writer, you will be asked to create product reviews, advantages, disadvantages and comparisons for websites, blogs and written brochures and manuals. The job is tricky; but you can easily handle it once you have ample interest and knowledge of technologically defined gadgets. IT technology is one of the most popular technical writing fields.

Prescriptions, drug manuals, health FAQS, disease guides are the documents which a technical writer working in the medical writing field is expected to produce.
Scientific Fields

There is a high demand for technical writers who could write reports and descriptions of various scientific discoveries. These reports are usually published in scientific magazines, journals and periodicals.

Engineering companies seek the expertise of technical writers to create manuals, presentations, models, illustrations, reports, design specifications for engineers and technicians so that they could carry out their jobs smoothly.
Automobile Industry

Automobile firms are always in search of technical writers who could describe the steel cabins in a way that pulls in the target customers. Technical writers are also required to create installation manuals of cars for those into the car repairing and modifying business; and also guide book for the car owners.
Properties of Technical Writing

One of the essential characteristics of technical writing is maintaining accuracy. If you are writing a review of a newly launched Nokia mobile phone and you miss on one important detail, this will convey the customers that there is nothing special about this product and they would buy another mobile phone instead. Technical writing requires that the information you provide is based on accuracy and quality content.

Write the technical document in a layman’s tone so that the customers who are not really techie fans are also able to understand what the product is all about. Try cutting down on the use of jargons because again, this is going to confuse the customers. Keep your language and expression simple and meaningful. Use of complicated words may put the readers in a quandary.

Be as descriptive in distinguishing the technical product as you can. More than half of the customers come from a non technical background and they need to have sufficient details otherwise they will not be able to picture the product correctly. If you are creating a manual for an electronic product which explains how to operate it, make sure you cover every aspect of its functioning.

Technical writing requires that you use correct grammar and sentence structure. Write down the key features in the form of headings, sub headings or bullet points as this will make the manual easy for the customers to read.
Academic Prerequisites

Students who intend to enroll in master’s level degree program in technical writing should have a bachelor’s degree. Preferred candidates will have a degree in a related field, like English, creative writing or journalism. Some universities require students to provide their GRE scores and writing samples for consideration.
Online Technical Writing Courses

Students can also earn online masters degree in Technical Writing. In distance learning, the communication between students and teachers is carried out through emails, discussion boards, video conferencing etc. Popular online courses include:

* Content Management
* Computer Software
* Technical Publications
* Digital Communication
* Technological Change
* Consulting
* Creative Writing
* Corporate Communications
* Multimedia

Occupational Outlook for Technical Writers

You can have an idea about the current job opportunities of technical writers from the statistics shown by the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics or take a look on best technical writing fields for technical writers. Between year 2008 and 2018, an increase of 18% is expected in the demand of technical writers. This is due to the rapidly growing electronic and tech industries. In 2008, the annual salaries for technical writers were between $60,000 and $70,000.

Author's Bio: 

This article has been written by Feisty Ash. Find more on technical writing fields, education and characteristics of technical writing go to