So you’ve heard about technical writing from your friend, colleague, neighbour, a distant relative, or one of the training institutes advertising about courses. You have researched about it and you are now contemplating whether it is a viable career option for you. You have read the blogs, Facebook groups, forums, and even reviewed the pay scale based on the survey reports. But, do you know these seven facts that every technical writing aspirant should be well-versed with?
1. Writing is sacrosanct
Do not overlook the “writing” part in technical writing. You are required to articulate information to the right audience by using the proper writing standards. It’s not about flowery language or tools, it’s about communicating the relevant information.
2. Tools are just enablers
Yes, the industry talks about structured and unstructured authoring tools – Word, FrameMaker, RoboHelp, AuthorIT, and so on. There are plenty and each organization has its own preference. But, those are just enablers to disseminate information. Information is more important than tools.
3. Experience is gold but expertise is more in demand
It’s not about how many years you have spent; what matters is what you have done in those years. If you have only worked on maintenance documents or made cosmetic changes to content for years, you do not necessarily add value as a “tech writer”. Expertise is how well you can document a product or technology with minimal leverage materials.
4. Freelancers are just as good as full-timers
While companies are scouting for full-time technical writers, freelancers have carved their own niche and are in demand. Freelancers typically need to possess project management, scoping, and effort estimation skills, since they may not have a project manager to fall back upon.
5. Content Strategy
Before you start authoring, you must devise a content strategy – who’s it for? What should be your style of writing? What topics to cover? What is the output format? These are some of the questions each technical writer needs to understand.
6. Job v/s Career
Make a choice, and make it soon. Technical writing is not just a job switch or a stop-gap arrangement. Make wise and conscious career decisions and then invest your time, effort, energy, and money in getting the right training to enable a career path for you.
7. Know your value
Simply put, technical writers make products simpler to understand and use. Your content ensures that the products are shipped in compliance with the regulatory norms. Your content also ensures that your company saves customer support costs, and retention of customers. You have the ability to make information easily available and accessible. So, know your value!
Writer: Karrthik Shettyy