Friday, April 6, 2007

Technical Writing

I know several technical writers who are AMWA members--they work for companies that develop medical devices, equipment or software. I thought I might post an interesting article about technical writing by David Odell (remember I said I would have guest bloggers).

Technical Writing

The educational background required in technical writing is demanding, because of the inherent difficulty of the job. It can be quite difficult to write a technical report, but with the right research and knowledge of basic report formats, you should be on your way to writing a good one. If you enjoy reading and writing, an education in Technical Writing can prepare you for an exciting career as a proof-reader, editor, or technical writer.

Online Technical Writing training may be provided by accredited and non-accredited career education schools and technical writing courses prescribe a dominant format and organization to make information readable, available, and accessible. These programs may include courses in prose, technical disciplines, advanced technical skills, and documentation, among others.If you like explaining hard-to-understand processes and concepts in a plain language and with a consistent vocabulary, and like simplifying complex processes and make them easily accessible, then you’ll enjoy technical writing while saying goodbye to your financial worries. Unless you are already an expert in a technical field and limit the scope of your writing to that, you will probably be required to quickly learn the details of certain processes - even entire industries. Depending on where you live and the local economic conditions, you’d be surprised at the number of employers who would be willing to give a novice with no track record a head start in technical writing.

If you are the type of writer who is more creative than systemic, you will find it hard to succeed in a technical writing job. In other words, the job profile of a technical writer involves writing and designing user guides, brochures and white papers for a plethora of products.

Business plans, technical report writing, grant writing, instruction manuals, and business correspondence are just a few of the more common types of technical writing jobs available. So, in the present world of complicated gadgets, technical documentations require more than just writing. This trend, may give the Technical Writing profession the impetus it requires.Substance is, of course, ever the more important part of technical writing. Accuracy in technical writing means that the technical writer puts out the effort to ensure that the information provided in the document is accurate. Translation in this context means that a technical writer should have the ability to gather technical information and translate it into language at the level of the intended audience.

Do not overuse humour, better still do not use it at all - People do not read technical documents to be entertained, they read them in the hopes of successfully completing a process, or extracting information. By the end of creating a piece of technical documentation, you will probably be sick of the sight of it but it has to be proof read, did you give the same screen, action part a different names in different parts of the document, all important not to do this as it confuses the reader and they are probably confused by the technology already.

To get a technical writing job you have to prove you are accurate and organized in everything you do. When you apply for a job ensure that your resume scrupulously accurate, down to the smallest details, and organized in a clear and logical way?A tech writing manager I know developed a 30-column spreadsheet to assess technical writing candidates. Officially, I can say that technical writing has no beginning because any person could conclude “the hieroglyphics” were writings of technical calibre to communicate to an audience. All writing styles evolve over time; technical writing is no exception.

Freelance technical writers find themselves in different jobs, from the fields of healthcare, to engineering, to consumer manufacturing, to business, and then back again. Believe me I have done it, but as a job to be involved in a variety of fields and work in varied situations you cannot beat it.

Dave Odell has been a freelance technical writer for over 20 years and and is now also exploring different writing genres and related topics. Visit his sites here and here.
See this article's source here.

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