How to Choose the Right IT Career for You: Technical Writer
Do you have a passion for technology and a love for writing? If so, then consider a career as a technical writer. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Technical Writers are predicted to grow by 6% through 2031.
What You Should Know to Get Started
What is a Technical Writer?
Technical writing is the creation of technical documentation in the form of instruction manuals, proposals, white papers, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Service Level Agreements (SLA), and product documentation to name a few but it could consist of a wide variety i.e. brochures, infographics, case studies and etc. all depending upon the organization.
Is a career as a Technical Writer worth it?
Yes as technology continues to evolve and new products are being introduced just about every day; organizations and their product, development, and sales teams need experts who can help convey a complex idea and break it down to a clear and concise level so that users can understand how to use a company's product and its features.
What do I need to get started to learn about this career path?
There are two different routes you can take but all will be dependent upon the job requirements as some employers require technical writers to have a degree in English, Communications, or Journalism as well as some knowledge in a technical subject. However, if this is the path for you and you don't have the qualifications listed above, you can take technical writing courses on Udemy, Coursera, and through course offerings in the related subject at several colleges/universities. This would also require you to start building a portfolio of your sample writings.
Check out this Technical Writer hiring guide from LinkedIn to learn more about what recruiters and hiring managers may look for in potential applicants.
Certifications to consider:
There's no specific certification needed for this profession; however, there are professional certifications offered through various organizations such as Society for Technical Communication.
Things to know to help build up your knowledge, skills, and abilities:
Communication. You will work across technical, product, and sales teams brainstorming and strategizing ideas.
Critical Thinking. You must be able to write for those with a non-technical background; hence, it should be not only clear and concise but easy to understand for your audience.
Technical skills. Becoming familiar with many technical concepts and technical terms although coding is not often required having a general understanding could be beneficial. So apply continuous learning and learn/understand the products that apply to your writing.
Writing skills. Familiarity with styles of writing and standard writing tools.
Research. Understanding of how to gather data from multiple sources and find relevant data and extract what is needed.
Editing/Proofreading. Utilize editing strategies by ensuring grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting are error-free.