Technical writing occupies a unique place in the information technology sector. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, people strive to keep up with the changing trends. However, innovation does not keep pace with the people, and it is on a swift path. For technical personnel to make sense of the product or service they avail, they need quality professional material.
In today’s modern world, the pen is even mightier than the sword. A well-written article has the power to mesmerize the masses. The ability to communicate well empowers an individual to virtually go places. Technical knowledge is sidelined as being secondary, and people encourage others to be smart and articulate.
Technical writing tools have evolved and almost reached a point of saturation. Gone are the days of dull content restricted to only one channel. The standards have gained ranks such that a content written for one channel could seamlessly fit into other distributions. Technical writing tools are available as free or commercial.
Technical writing has been in practice for a long time, although not mature in earlier days. In the current context, technical writing is as important as the end product or service. We can witness technical writing in many sectors like software products, oil or gas industry, or even aerospace. With the proliferation of professional writing, it is beneficial to be aware of this subject.
Technical writing explained at length
Traditional writing versus technical writing: Traditional writing involves informing an idea without an emphasis on user understanding. The reader has to be intelligent to understand the concept. However, in technical writing, the end-user must comprehend the product or service from the literature. Technical written material could also inform about a sequence of steps.
The varieties in technical writing: Technical writing falls under a stream of general writing techniques. These writing techniques include - commercial writing, creative writing, business writing, technical writing, and scientific writing.
Essential skills generally associated with a technical writer: There are some salient skills that a professional writer should know. These skills are -
- Knowledge of editing tools: The technical writer must be comfortable with office suites offered by leading enterprises. Such tools could encompass Google and Microsoft suites.
- Understanding of advanced concepts: The technical writer must be aware of advanced concepts like structure documentation, topic-based authoring, extensible markup language (XML), and Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).
- Awareness of rising trends: The technical writer must have a working knowledge of websites since search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial necessity for any company. The professional writer must also exhibit sound awareness of social media.
- Follow style standards: The technical writer must have a working knowledge of standards like Microsoft Manual of Style (MSTP), and Simplified Technical English (STE).
- Ability to articulate varied domains: As a technical writer, the person must be able to express any technical or specialized subjects clearly. The breadth of topics could range from computer applications to medical procedures.
- Be a technologist superficially: The technical writer must have a superficial knowledge of software engineering. They must be able to work with the application or device to write about it.
- Skills related to illustration: The technical writer must have a basic knowledge of illustration tools. Having a working knowledge of graphics helps the writer to visualize.
- Finally, the technical writer must be fluent in grammar, vocabulary, research, and everyday English writing.
Supply and demand associated with technical writing: Technical writing has gained ranks as one of the most sought after the domain in every industry. If you are working as a professional writer for a company, then yes, you would be aware of the technical jargon. You would require to write your content aligned to SEO.
The supply of skilled personnel well-versed with technical writing is steadily rising. What earlier sidelined as supplemental has promoted to higher ranks as a critical driver to progress.
An overview of the typical technical writing tools used by technical writers: While professional writers may use several tools, some of them accepted as industry standards include -
- Adobe FrameMaker: Adobe FrameMaker is an Adobe document processing application. The software product designed to write as well as edit complicated documents which include structured documents (including DITA).
- Adobe RoboHelp: This is a standard authorizing tool followed by the industry. The software product used to create help systems or automated help content for desktop and web.
- Text Editor for HTML: Third-party text editors such as Notepad ++ are useful for use as HTML editor since they support context highlighting.
- WordPress: WordPress is an open-source, online content management tool used for blogging and authoring.
- Microsoft Visio: Technical writing may require flowcharts, diagrams, figures, architectural diagrams, circuit diagrams, and product design for which Visio is a suitable tool.
- Windows Snipping Tool: This is a screen capturing tool that is more advanced than the regular screen capture.
It would help if you had got a short idea about what technical writing is and how you could shape your career to become a writing specialist. The key idea is to be a technologist subjectively and an excellent wordsmith objectively. Several opportunities are arising that recruit skilled writers with facilities to match the best in the industry. Your enterprising nature would help you succeed.
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