A Complete Guide to Become a Certified Technical Writer
Did you know that as per the US Bureau of Labour Logistics, demand for technical writers is expected to grow at a rate of 12% from 2020 to 2030? The numbers don’t lie. With the world advancing toward elite technology, demand for writers who can effectively communicate with the general masses is at an all-time high. In this article, we intend to shed light on one of the most aspirational forms of content writing which is technical writing, and what it takes to become a certified technical writer.
The content writing field is full of opportunities. If you are someone with the slightest passion for writing, you are sure to find a spot for yourself in the vast field of content writing. In the same way, if you are someone who is not only interested in writing but has an inclination towards technology, then nothing would interest you more than technical writing.
If the previous line managed to create a spark in your eyes, we recommend you to read the article until the very end. Since, in the end, we also have a few recommendations for institutes that can guide you in your journey to becoming a successful certified technical writer. For all the newbies, let’s get the basics right at the very beginning.
What is Technical Writing and who is a Technical Writer?
Technical writing is about creating technology-related documents. They are drafted for the readers to easily understand concepts related to technology. It involves written texts, visuals, videos, or anything that will help the reader understand the technology better. A technical writer is a master of converting complicated technical information into simple, straightforward bits for the reader’s ease.
We know this can lead to some confusion. But worry not! In the sections that follow, we have broken down the 7 main types of technical writing. Once you have read through the types, you will be more clear if becoming a technical writer is your calling or not.
The 7 Types of Technical Writing are Listed Below:
1- Technical Writing for Medicine
These are documents that entail information related to medical research, observations, treatment, or diagnosis. They may also contain exhaustive information related to hospitals or healthcare infrastructure, a summary of medical findings, recommendations, etc. A technical writer in medicine has to be efficient in converting difficult medical terms into easier ones without losing their meaning.
2- Documentations for the End-user
These are user manuals or guides (as you’d like to call them) that come along with products like phones, laptops, games, and machinery to name a few. These documents may include step-by-step information related to the product purchased. An example could be the “how to charge e-bike” manual that comes along with a brand new e-bike.
These documents are full of thorough technical information requiring detailed yet concise information about the product. Don’t let the previous contradicting words confuse you. Detailed yet concise means shortened information covering all the areas of the intended message.
3- White papers / Case Studies
White papers are published by businesses or corporations. These are well-researched documents that aim at providing a solution to an existing problem in the industry. White papers help in emphasizing an organization’s knowledge about the industry. White papers can also include case studies to give more credibility to the published white paper.
Although press releases do not have lengthy technical information, they are nonetheless a part of technical writing. A technical writer is tasked with drafting press releases on behalf of organizations. Press releases are drafted when an organization has an important announcement to make. A good example of a press release could be the “newsroom” section on the Apple website.
5- Books on Technology
This is the core kind of technical writing. To write books on technology one has to be more than a certified technical writer. Since these books demand extensive information on a certain technology, one has to be a subject matter expert to publish an error-free technical book
6- API or Application Programming Interface
First, let’s define an API. API is any software that helps in making two applications work together. API document is a technical documentation of information related to the API software. An API document will have all the answers related to the API.
Articles are categorized in technical writing because at the core technical writing is about sending across less complicated information. Articles are a leading way of reaching mass readers and delivering information accurately.
Read Here: Fundamental of Technical Writing
We Have Listed Below a Few Qualities That One Must Work Upon if They Intend to Become a Certified Technical Writer:
1- Efficient Writing Skills
Good writing skill does not necessarily mean the use of big or complicated words. The ability to write well means mastering the ability to communicate well. To become a technical writer one must know how to build information that gives impactful results.
2- Efficiency With Teaching
A technical writer is not only about writing. It’s about educating the readers & imparting knowledge. A sharp technical writer aims at making learning easy for the readers with good writing.
Technical writing is not a one-day job. Drafting a technical document may take hours of hard work without losing concentration. A lot of information has to be redone before the final draft is ready. Patience is one of the key qualities of a technical writer
Technical writers have to communicate with multiple subject matter experts. Technical writing involves a lot of interviews and discussions with people who understand the technology. Hence technical writers must possess good interpersonal skills to collect information beneficial for their technical documents.
5- Being Comfortable with Visual Aids
A technical document full of only words will not hold the reader’s attention for long. A lot of technical documents involve working with images to describe the products or information better. This demands that the technical writers become well versed in using visuals in their descriptions to provide clear information.
6- Handling and Incorporating Suggestions
It is important to understand that technical writing skill develops with experience. In this journey of gaining experience, there will be a lot of suggestions or criticism that will come along the way. A technical writer should accept and work on these suggestions to become better at the task.
So let’s say that you possess these skills. Now the next question is if it is necessary to become a certified technical writer? Or in other terms is a certification necessary to become a technical writer?
Also Read: Technical Writing Tips
Read Through the Next Points to Understand Why a Certified Technical Writer Has an Upper Hand in the Field of Content Writing:
- A certification course in technical writing gives access and experience in multiple writing tools, writing formats, and standard or software programs. A certified technical writer will face lesser problems at the beginning of their career than a non-certified technical writer
- A certification course opens the door to vast amounts of knowledge at the very start of a technical writing journey. This makes the students job-ready by the end of the course
- A certified technical writer holds more value in the job market since a certification assures quality to the employers
- Even if you are already an established technical writer, a certification course will help in upgrading your skillset which will ultimately boost your career
By the above-mentioned points, we do not mean that only a certification course will help you with your career graph. Nothing can beat the success one gets with practice, perseverance & experience. However, the journey to becoming a successful technical writer will become easier when one earns a certificate from a reputed institute.
We promised at the beginning that this article will cover every aspect of a certified technical writer. Our next points will consist of information about institutes offering top-notch technical writing certifications. These institutes have proven track records when it comes to providing competitive & quality courses.
1- IIM Skills:
IIM Skills is a leading institute offering exceptional professional courses, on various subjects one of them being a course in Technical writing. Apart from the quality of the course, the institute is also known for its student-friendly approach & around the clock availability for queries. Companies like Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon, and Cisco recruiting from IIM Skills alumni is a live example of the quality the institute has to offer.
Name: Technical Writing Course
Course Duration: 20 hrs lecture + 60 hrs of Practical Assignments
Some of the Key Features of the Course Areas Below:
- The institute offers assistance in publishing your first white paper
- A 1 month guaranteed internship is offered as well as helping freelancers build their portfolio
- Lifetime access to learning material
The Course Curriculum is as follows:
- How to write
- Creating your content
- Technical Reports
- White Papers / Journals
- DDLC & versioning
- Conversational writing
- Reviewing & Publishing
- API documentation using XML
- Datasheets, User Manuals & Application notes
- Effective writing
- Medical Writing
- Case Study
Download IIM SKILLS Technical Writing Course Brochure
FIND WHY 20,000+ PEOPLE LOVE IIM SKILLS
The institute believes in imparting students real-life skills needed in this career. Once you become a certified technical writer from IIM Skills, you will be equipped with the following skillset:
- Creating impactful documents after an audience analysis
- Recognizing multiple forms of technical writing and selecting the one that best suits your requirement
- Working with ease with technically complex documents
- Becoming a master of formatting and related documentation rules
- Understanding and staying updated with best practices in technical writing
The Course Fee is INR 14,900 + GST
The eligibility for the course to become a certified technical writer at IIM Skills are
- A degree in any of the disciplines
- Fair knowledge of technology
The institute can be contacted at +91 9911839503 or by emailing them at [email protected].
Also Check: Technical Writing Courses in India
Udemy has managed to set a benchmark for every platform providing online courses. The platform’s popularity speaks of the quality of various courses Udemy offers. Listed below are the top 3 technical writing courses on Udemy’s platform.
- A- Learn API Technical Writing: JSON and XML for Writers
This course is created for technical writers who wish to expand their knowledge base in the API documentation.
- 8 videos capturing background information on API & structured data. This is followed by breaking down the working of JSON and XML files.
- The course will also narrate the writing of JSON and XML documentation in real-time
- 4 exercises will teach you how to build & document JSON and XML files
- 2 lectures on the use of software tool
The course duration is around 2.5hrs with a fee of INR 1699 (Discounted rate of INR 385)
The course is for technical writers who are experienced in writing end-user documentation & wish to learn API documentation. Technical writers with programming knowledge can also enroll in the course
- B- Business Writing & Technical Writing Immersion
The course is conducted by experienced professionals who have worked extensively in the technical writing industry. The course is designed to help students organize their ideas or thoughts and deliver them on paper systematically.
The Course Module is as follows:
- Analyze the Purpose
- Analyze the Audience
- Writing the Purpose Statement
- Gathering all the information
- Writing the outline sentences
- Revising the content and organization
- Editing for coherence & clarity
- Editing for economy & readability
- Writing the Conclusion and final thoughts
- Tips for writing emails
- ESL Articles, Attitude and Approach, and Tenses
The Course can be completed in 4.6 hrs with lifetime access to the learning material.
Course Fee: INR 3499 (Discounted price of INR 385)
- C- Technical Writing:
If you are interested in becoming a reliable, professional, and profitable technical writer, then this is the course for you. Conducted over 5.5 hrs, the comprehensive nature of the course is the reason why it has made it to our article on technical writers.
The Curriculum :
- Module 1: Overview
- Module 2: Know your topic
- Module 3: Know your Audience
- Module 4: Plan the book
- Module 5: Write the book
- Module 6: How to write well
- Module 7: How to rewrite the book
- Module 7: How to polish your writing
- Module 8; Marketing the book
- Module 9: Wrapping up the course
The course fee is INR 3199 (Discounted price of INR 385)
Visit Udemy’s website for information on other technical writing courses
Also Read: Technical Communication Skills
3- Henry Harvin
Henry Harvin is a world-renowned online education service provider. The certifications offered at Henry Harvin are recognized globally. Their technical writing course is a game-changer helping students in strengthening their writing skills. Their hiring partner includes companies like Airtel, BSNL, Gillette, HCl, Maruti Suzuki, and L&T Infotech amongst many others.
- A 36hrs training course involving projects like documentation process & working on software tools
- The institute offers internship and placement assistance
The Course Provides Hands-on Experience in the Following Tools
- Authoring Tools
- MS word
- Google Docs
- Screen Capture tools
- Snipping tool
- Techsmith Snagit
- Image Editing Tools
- Adobe Photoshop
- Spell Check Tools
- Technical Writing Software Tools
- Microsoft Word
- Macromedia RoboHelp
- Adobe FrameMaker
- Snag IT
- MS Visio
- Overview of DITA Tool
- Overview of API Documentation
- Overview of XML
The Course Curriculum is as follows:
- Module 1: Introduction to technical writing
- Module 2: Documentation Process
- Module 3: Technical writing process
- Module 4: Grammar & Editing
- Module 5: Technical writing software tools
- Module 6: Components of a Technical document
- Module 7: Technical writing techniques
- Module 8: Learn to create a technical document template
- Module 9: Format Overview of technical documents
- Module 10: Advanced technical writing tools
- Complimentary Module 1: Soft Skills
- Complimentary Module 2: Resume writing
For the last part of this article, we would like to touch upon one of the most important aspects of becoming a certified technical writer.
Recommended Read: Content Writing Courses in India
Industries Where Technical Writers are Required the Most:
Wherever you will find technology, you will also find the demand for a technical writer. It is because every industry needs a dedicated communicator to help them reach the general public. However, some industries require technical writers more than others. A list of a few industries is below:
- Manufacturing Industry: A technical writer in manufacturing would be needed to work on documents related to operating procedures & processes
- IT Industry: The industry with the most jobs across the globe is also a leading sector for technical writers. Technical writing jobs in IT would involve documenting every aspect of technology
- Aerospace Industry: The writer in the aerospace industry would work on handling manuals related to parts, maintenance, operation, troubleshooting of the parts along with other processes
- Other sectors like the service industry, defense sector, and customer support are also great opportunity providers for a certified technical writer
1-Is technical writing better than other forms of content writing?
Content writing is an extremely creative field with many sub-fields. Which field is better depends on the personal choices of content writers? All types of content writing come with certain sets of expectations, standards, challenges & creative capacity. The same is the case with technical writing. The number of opportunities in every field is the same. It is a matter of a writer’s passion & hard work to make the most of a given field
2- How much do technical writers earn?
The average annual salary of a technical writer is around INR 6 LPA. Technical writing is one of the highest-paying content writing fields because of the complexities involved. The salary may range depending on the industry type, experience & skill set of the writer.
3- What is the minimum qualification to become a technical writer?
To become a technical writer having a course certificate or a degree in technical writing is always a plus. Apart from that, a degree in the subject that one wishes to write about is sometimes taken into consideration when hiring a technical writer
Here we end our article. Throughout the article, we tried shedding light on why technical writing is the one to look out for in the field of content writing. We also touched upon the growth opportunities in the field along with our top 3 institute recommendations. To conclude, we would like to point out that if you enjoy content writing then you must check out technical writing and pursue it. It is one of the highest paying and creatively challenging sub-field of content writing. We hope to have answered all your questions related to the field and the information provided can help you make a career-advancing decision.