Everything You Need to Know About Technical Writing Courses

We all at various times have come across instructions in a booklet. These booklets are usually what we call instruction manuals. The subject of the instructions can be anything from a guide on how to install your TV’s set-top box to the potential side effects of a certain medication. These guidelines written for users benefit forms the concept of technical writing. Technical writing courses help you to write such documents.

The image describes the article on the top technical writing courses for 2021

 

Therefore, technical writing is a distinct form of writing in which it provides complex information to people in a way that they can easily understand and apply, even when the reader does not know about the topic.

 

Why pursue a Career in Technical Writing? Why take up technical writing courses?

This form of writing has been in use since the 1950s but it saw further expansion during the 1970s and 1980s, as consumer electronics found their way into the homes of the people. The rapid economic and technological advancement over the years has seen this writing type develop into a niche.

 

There is an enormous demand for technical writers as they cover many genres and writing styles, depending on the information and audience. They produce technical documents along with other people of different expertise. Usually, anyone who works in a professional set up produces technical documents of some variety.

 

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Here are some examples where technical writers help create technical documentation such as;

 

Instructions and procedures

Documents of this type include user manuals and troubleshooting instructions for computer programs, recycling of computer hardware, use of household products, medical equipment installations, assembly of mechanical devices, and maintenance of automobiles.

 

Emails, letters, and memoranda

Frequently written documents that come across businesses constructed with a variety of goals—sometimes simply for communicating information, while we design others to persuade the recipient to accomplish a certain task.

 

Press Releases

When a business wants to launch a new product or service, they will have a writer, author a press release. This document describes the product’s features, functions, and value to the public.

 

Technical Reports

Provides readers with information, instructions, and analysis for tasks.

They are created in different forms with different purposes. For instance, a technical writer might vet a building that is up for sale and produces an analysis report that highlights findings in order for customers to help make their purchasing decision.

Another writer who works for a non-profit organization may publish an evaluation report that shows the findings of the ecological impact of constructing dams.

 

Case Study

A published report of an extensive study about a person, group, or situation over time; or observation of daily life events to learn about something. For example, an individual’s workplace challenges and how he or she resolved them is a case study.

 

White Papers

These are documents for experts in a field and specifically, describe a solution to a technological or business challenge. Examples of white papers include a draft published on details of how to make a business successful or a piece describing how to prevent cyber-attacks on organizations.

 

Websites

Technical writers of today are also responsible for creating web pages such as about us pages or product pages on websites. And it is useful if they are proficient in web development tools.

 

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Datasheets

Documents that list the measurement specifications or key features, technical features, and other types of vital information about the machine/ equipment/product, software, or system briefly.

Where Can Technical writers get hired?

 

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Industries that hire technical writers are;

  • IT industry
  • Manufacturing sector
  • Aerospace
  • Defense sector
  • Service industry
  • Customer support etc.

 

What can be the career path of a technical writer?

  • Intern technical writer
  • Associate technical writer
  • Technical writer
  • Senior technical writer
  • Lead technical writer/Principal technical writer
  • Documentation manager
  • Senior Doc manager
  • Director

 

With so many roles available for technical writers, the career prospects are always bright.

 

Now let us understand different aspects of technical writing such as its attributes, various courses available for beginning your journey towards becoming a technical writer.

 

First, there are five characteristics of technical writing that one should remember viz:

Accuracy

This refers to the originality or factuality of a statement. The information must be scientifically precise and provide solutions as well.

Example: Paris is the Capital of France is accurate.

 

Conciseness

The information conveyed should be up to the point, as having a massive document is time-consuming and hard to concentrate on after a while.

 

Clarity

Prioritize using simple language as complex and incoherent sentences may confuse the reader’s ability to grasp the instructions in the intended way.

This lack of clarity can be dangerous.

For example, Unclear instructions on operating heavy machinery can be fatal.

 

Accessibility

This is the ease with which users can reach the information they are looking for. To improve the accessibility list and categorize your information into a proper table of contents, headings, contact information, etc.

 

Audience

This part is all about assessing your target audience and making sure that your writing resonates with them. With the right training and time, this shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Here is a list of the Top Technical Writing Courses that you can choose to pursue in 2022 

 

1. IIM SKILLS

You may be smart, but if you can’t convey what’s in your head to others, you may run into obstacles and dead ends. Then the technical writing course offered by IIM SKILLS is the right option for you. It is a 5 week-long training program and is one of the finest technical writing courses. You have 20 hours of lecture and  60+ hours of practical assignments with thorough knowledge of tools. The course fee is Rs 14900+GST.

 

This course will give you an outline of the different styles and prepare you to produce instructive and persuasive documents based on clear-cut and actionable outcomes. As mentioned earlier, technical documents are accurate, concise, organized, and established on complex information.

 

The course will teach you processes for examining writing contexts and help you produce effective, clear, and reader-centric documents. The aim and the target audience of a document define the style that an author chooses. In this course, you will test these stylistic choices and assess document layout, vocabulary usage, sentence formation, and paragraph structure, and visuals, among other factors.

 

Upon completion of the course, you will possess an understanding and knowledge of different technical writing documents, including research studies, feasibility reports, proposals, and specifications.

 

Personalized Instructor Feedback

As a bonus, you’ll get expert feedback on your chosen project. And if you have a tech startup project, for instance, you can have it properly reviewed and critiqued before you submit your proposal to investors.

 

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2. Technical Writing courses at Coursera

The program offers technical communication skills necessary to convey the information obtained through a method of experimental or technical work. The course highlights the elements that influence the extent of technicality of the language and ideas involved. You will learn how to create different technical reports, e.g., research reports, lab reports, design and feasibility reports, consulting reports, progress reports, etc. The course also addresses various language, style, structure, and content problems that you can encounter while creating the results from your research.

 

Top teaching faculty from the world’s best universities and educational institutions teach courses at Coursera. Courses include pre-recorded video lectures, peer-reviewed assignments, and unique community discussion forums. When you finish the course, you’ll receive a shareable electronic Course Completion Certificate.

 

3. Society for Technical Communication (STC)

In the ever-changing field of technical writing, STC, the world’s oldest and largest professional association, has been contributing to the evolution of the domain of technical communication. The institute supports the development and dissemination of knowledge and skill and set standards for the profession.

 

Society’s membership spans from students and academics to practitioners and managers. They bring out award-winning publications, Intercom and Technical Communication, widely read by practitioners and academics.

 

The STC offers the Certified Professional Technical Communicator program that enables competency, knowledge, and currency in the domain through this professional certification.

 

4. Technical writing courses at Communicaid

The secret ingredient of a proper technical writing style is to describe difficult technical concepts and ideas systematically so that both expert and non-specialist users can realize your instructions and apply them with the help of your writing.

 

Communicaid’s course offers you practical frameworks and skills required to convert highly complex topics into reader-friendly accessible documents. Enrolling in this Technical Writing program will give you the expertise and skills to create readable technical documents.

 

This course will also provide you with;

  • A better understanding of your audience’s requirements.
  • Practical tools to deliver complex ideas and issues successfully for expert and non-expert users.
  • Learning how best to use and describe visuals.
  • An awareness of the basic principles of the simple English language.
  • Editing and proofreading techniques.

 

5. TechWriter-Certification Technical Writing courses

TechWriter offers multiple certifications in technical communication depending upon learners’ choice. Their aim is to develop dynamic programs to meet marketplace demand. Forming partnerships with accredited colleges and universities to support their continued expansion of the programs, they are one of the best in their domain.

 

Some technical writing courses offered by them are: 

Basic Certificate in Technical Writing-

The program comprises three stages, which are an introduction to the technical writing industry, followed by intermediate and advanced stages.

At the end of the above program, you will learn to;

  • Appreciate the role of the technical writer in a novel way.
  • Identify key components of user-centered design.
  • Apply the latest technical writing design principles.
  • Illustrate the user experience and spell out your communications accordingly.
  • Gather, record, and interpret data.
  • Articulate the various levels of editing and format your documents in a polished manner.
  • Grasp the impact of visual design as it relates to technical communication.
  • Make use of design, content, and style guidelines to create a more readable, succinct document.
  • Review, edit, and polish every technical document to produce the highest quality result every time.

 

Certificate in writing (for technical writers, editors, and designers)-

Designed for those already in the domain and for those who want to (a) strengthen their existing careers in technical communication or (b) begin a new direction within the corporate field.

At the end of the above program, you will be able to;

  • Define the field of technical communication.
  • Recognize tasks and job roles in the profession of technical writing.
  • Realize the historical elements that have shaped the profession.
  • Define key terms used in technical communication.
  • Analyze the experience of people using your documents.
  • Identify how typography and layout affect your readers.
  • Recognize your role in the product management process as that of a technical communicator that serves the organization and customer.
  • Realize vital elements of an information plan and different content specifications.
  • Analyze an audience.
  • Perform a task analysis.
  • Identify key activities in user-centered design.
  • Perform user testing on your documentation.
  • Recognize the basic emotional nuances for productive performance.
  • Articulate the levels of editing.
  • Internalize best practices regarding editing and writing procedures.
  • Recognize challenges and solutions when publishing text online.

 

Certificate in professional technical communication

Created to cater for beginners and existing writers to work within styles particular to the field of technical communication. This program highlights advancing the competencies and writing styles needed to produce project proposals, technically written submissions, feasibility reports, various presentations, machine manuals, website communications, along with other types of technical correspondence.

 

As a technical writer, you may write or edit many types of projects. By executing the principles taught in this course, you can improve upon your skillset as you get to work on a wide range of projects. Just as importantly, you can gain skills that will benefit every project they assign you. The organizational skills necessary for a user guide format, the consideration of client guidelines needed for a proposal, and the capacity to connect examples and interviews demanded for a technical magazine article are carried over into other forms of writing. On completing this program, you will have a portfolio of well-defined written technical documents post conclusion of the class.

 

At the end of the above program, you’ll be able to;

  • Visualize writing projects with a clear understanding of the topic.
  • Learn how to adopt a focused strategy to your target audience and intent.
  • Engage in both task and audience analysis.
  • Learn how to refurbish new or existing documents.
  • Broaden your writing features and abilities.
  • Sharpen your skills across a spectrum of writing skill categories.
  • Write with an authority and expand upon marketable skills.
  • Get a globally recognized Professional Technical Completion Certificate.

 

The certificate program in structured writing for technical communication

The domain of technical writing has developed from writing concisely and clearly, employing a keyboard into this world of content management and structured writing. Documents aren’t any more written and published as individual entities within a documentation set, but written as data segments for reuse on systems that automate processes for controlling and managing the segments. Information isn’t any more published as a document solely for paper output, apart from electronic access on PCs, cell phones, and other handheld devices.

 

The technical writer professionals today must have a basic understanding of the solutions that combine the features of structured writing for reuse, and the latest standard strategies for segregating and storing data for output to various types of formats and access on multiple devices.

 

The Certificate Course in Structured Writing provides you with an opportunity to use the course to create a documentation set based on information that needs to be published. You will have contact with, help, and feedback from the instructor as you step through the assignments that help towards the goal of creating the documentation set using the DITA standard.

After the above program, you will learn things such as ;

  • how to interpret a document type definition(DTD).
  • How to use XMetaL as an authoring tool.
  • How to segment your data for maximum use and reuse among a documentation set.
  • How to use XML to tag your data.
  • How to use the DITA (Darwin Information Type Architecture) standard.

About the current trends in technical writing besides DITA; the S1000D standard, use of IETMs, and CMS.

 

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 Writers at a work certificate program

Your writing skills affect your professional image. The finer your writing skills become, the greater are your probabilities for advancement. Effective writing done at the workplace is a desired skill. Studies show that employers prefer workers who think out of the box and communicate effectively.

The program comprises four 10-hour courses that will allow busy professionals a flexible path toward learning valuable writing techniques. The program starts with quality refresher basics of grammar and punctuation lessons that will give you a glance at writing concise, clear, and complete documents.

At the completion of the program, they will equip you to;

  • Recognize and rectify simple errors in grammar and punctuation.
  • Recognize ineffective sentences and use clear and concise writing.
  • Create clean and professional email messages that effectively get your reader’s attention.
  • Realize a writing process to follow when creating any document.
  • Organize your ideas clearly.
  • Interrelate words and ideas productively using parallelism, connectives, and other different strategies.
  • Use particular guidelines to fit the tone of the language of a document.
  • Incorporate standard design structures to create visually aesthetic documents.
  • Proofread, edit, and revise documents more effectively.

 

6. Udemy

Udemy offers plenty of technical writing courses. The course is for beginners in technical writing, developers, and engineers who would like to convey more effectively with their colleagues and clients, besides those interested in a career change.

 

It requires the learners to have Windows PC machines and Office 2007 or 2010 (Word and Excel). They include everything else in the course. The learners do not need to buy any other books, videos, etc. to follow the course.

 

7. Emphasis

This extensive technical-writing training program will aid your team in communicating their information concisely, clearly, and effectively. You will be trained to put conclusions upfront, not buried in supporting detail. And you will be shown how to make recommendations clear for the intended audience. Above all, you will build confidence and take pride in writing. It is one of the most popular technical writing courses. 

 

A key feature of this course is that all the learners receive unique pre-course writing analysis. This encompasses 15 different fields of writing skills and helps ensure the training meets the learners’ precise writing needs, while ensuring they make continuous, targeted improvements.

 

Reasons to choose Emphasis;

Unique pre-course analysis

They analyze the writing of each attendee on the course categorized into 15 different areas. This helps their trainers to have a clear understanding of the writing issues of every individual student–before the learner even enters the actual training. This method is a special feature of Emphasis that has benefited thousands of professionals around the world.

 

Post-course support

You will get access to their dedicated support desk for 12 months after your course. You will also get timely updates of resources and free tips by email.

 

Full course customization

Their specialist trainers work hard to design a program that’s suitable for the needs of the learner.

 

At the end of the above program, you will;

  • Able to insert a logical framework into any technical document.
  • Make conclusions clear and memorable.
  • Communicate complex information–without diluting down the instructions.
  • Write for the target readers, using a simple level of language and without getting lost in the details.
  • Present data helpfully, effectively using graphs, tables, charts, and graphics.
  • Able to write convincingly by gaining expertise through their grammar and punctuation lessons to build credibility and authority through their writing.

 

8. Technical Writing Courses for Engineers by Google Developers

These technical writing courses are suitable for the following people in the following roles;

  • Professional software engineers.
  • Computer science students.
  • Engineering-adjacent roles, such as product managers.

 

You need to have some writing proficiency in English, but you need not be an expert in the language to take these courses.

You will find the above courses easier if you have at least some background in coding (you don’t have to be an expert programmer).

The programs focus exclusively on technical writing, and not covers general English writing or other forms of writing.

What format do these technical writing courses take?

Technical Writing One and Technical Writing Two comprise two parts:

  • pre-class lessons
  • in-class sessions with a tutor and other students

The pre-class sessions will provide a concrete educational experience, which complements the in-class lessons.

The technical communication courses mentioned here provide the platform for anyone who wishes to launch their career in technical writing. Before making your choice, make sure that the certification aligns with your career needs and your niche.

All the best.

Author:
An electronics and communication engineering graduate, former lecturer at a diploma institute, currently writer at iimskills.

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