Top 5 Technical Author Training Courses With Certificates In India
A technical content writer is a writer who excels in a specific subject matter and has taken technical author training to write with specific and technical knowledge and make digestible content out of it for the general public. Some of the most famous scientists of our era, Late Dr. Stephen Hawking, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and so on, are all great technical authors. These people take their field of work – difficult, math-rich subjects like astrophysics and cosmology – and wrote bestsellers such as A Brief History of Time and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, respectively.
But before we start talking about getting technical author training and become one ourselves, we need to look at what technical content is. The Society for Technical Communication defines technical content as any type of content that fulfils one or more of its three criteria. These are:
- The content should talk about a technical or specialized subject, such as physics, economics, liberal arts, and so on.
- The content should be communicated with the help of technology, like maintaining blogs, writing for websites, and on social media.
- Giving instructions about how to do something – it could be a stack overflow page or a recipe.
So basically, if you are writing to explain something, you are doing technical writing, and being a technical author. There are many technical author training courses available online in India. Any interested person with a passion for writing or just teaching can use any of these courses to polish their skills and get their points across far better than they would without training.
Must Read: Fundamentals of Technical Writing
Why Do You Need Technical Author Training?
The short answer is to remove the crudeness. Being a technical author comes with its fair share of disadvantages – the most important one being that you can’t afford to be crude, rough, vague, and misleading at all. Also, going through training and obtaining a professional certificate goes a long way in shaping your career and getting you better opportunities. As an employee, you have multiple benefits of undergoing training and getting a certificate. These are:
- Your skills are being validated by a third party. This means that the people who are offering you a role as a technical content writer don’t have to take your word for it when it comes to your skills. A good certificate course can go a long way in propelling you from average to amazing.
- A training course and a certificate to back it up will also help you demand higher pay when going for jobs. It is a crucial part of a resume and goes to show your prowess as a technical author. Having a reputed certificate on there from a reputed technical author course will increase your chances of not only getting a higher pay but also getting better value for your work in general.
These benefits are not limited to workers only. Employers can also benefit massively from having a certified workforce.
What all goes on in Technical Author Training?
In a typical technical author training course, the stress usually lies on how to write the sort of technical documents that are up to the requirements of the user. For example, if a person is targeting a Communications Officer for an IT company, they need to have the necessary skill set to assimilate technical information in a format and language that is understood by the media people, the laypeople, and the customers of the public.
Along with that, the courses also prepare a person how to gather enough information in the subject they will be working on, how to gather data on who will be using their content – basically, research skills.
Of course, there is a lot of stress on language itself. In the mode of technical communication, more so any other, using the correct language takes more precedent. Therefore, all the training courses make a point to teach how to choose the correct words, the correct vocabulary, the style, and the tone of the information.
Delve deeper into this Guide to Technical Communication Skills
Along with that, the courses also give information about how to edit the document, how to proofread, how to format, what sort of fonts, graphics, paragraphing, elements, and even tips about how to write a technical document.
In that regard, I have taken the liberty of choosing 5 online technical author training courses. I have chosen them based on the amount of information they deliver to a learner at any given time. Four out of these five courses have certificates, and I will also mention how to get them for each one of them.
Course 1: Technical Writing: Master Your Writing Career, by Joseph Phillips (Udemy)
This course is created by Joseph Phillips, a highly skilled author himself. He has written, co-authored, or served as a technical editor to more than 35 books on various topics such as technology, careers, project management, and goal setting for eminent publishers such as MacMillan, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and AMA Press.
This course is available on Udemy, and users learn the following:
- Identifying what technical writing accomplishes.
- Research the topic of writing
- Recognizing the needs and targets of the people using the content
Joseph teaches how to write a technical book during the length of this course. The course is divided into 10 sections, spanning a total of 5 hours and 19 minutes. Udemy is providing this course at a lucrative Rs. 490 for a very limited time.
After the completion of the course, learners can apply for a certificate of completion, which comes bundled in with the course.
The course is good and Phillips is a skilled trainer. However, the trend of writing technical books is slowly declining. If you are not a person who is going to write a book at some point in your career, this might not suit you well. The information provided is useful, though.
Course 2: Tech Writers Master Class, by Janet Underwood (Udemy)
This course is created by Janet Underwood, a former English teacher with more than 20 years of experience as a senior technical writer. She has had experience developing major technical documentation for corporations in the computer, IT, Telecom, Finance, and medical industries, as well as for the US government.
The course is available on Udemy, like the first one. The course teaches the following:
- How to meet the demands and needs of your audience
- How to choose the best vocabulary, style, tone, and sentence and paragraph structuring.
- How to add the right graphics, format the document properly, and edit and proofread it.
- How to conduct usability studies, that is, gather data about how usable your content is.
This course is certainly broader and focuses more on developing the basic aspects of technical writing than the previous course. The course is divided into 11 sections, which contain 44 lectures. The total duration of the course is 5 hours 44 minutes. The course also comes with 6 articles and many assignments to test the learner along the way. For the time being, Udemy is offering this course at Rs. 490, which is listed at Rs. 8,640.
Learners can apply for the certificate of completion, once the course is done.
Course 3: Technical Writing, by Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Coursera)
This is by far the highest-level course on the list. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has curated this course for technical literacy among people. This course is taught by Elena Bazanova, who is the Director of the Language Training and Testing Center at the Institute. She has written 17 books and is currently also the Chair of the English Philology Department at the Russian State Social University.
The course will teach a person how to develop the necessary technical writing skills to communicate information gained through technical or experimental work. This course teaches the course takers how to write different technical reports, e.g., laboratory reports, research reports, design and feasibility reports, progress reports, and so on. Along with this, the course covers a variety of language, structure, style, and content issues that a person can face and how to solve them.
The course is available on Coursera. Anyone can join for free. This course is a content-rich one, with a total content worth 19 hours, spread across 5 weeks. Coursera allows people to pace the course with their schedules, and also allows flexible, reschedulable deadlines. The course uses a mix of readings, video lectures, quizzes, and assignments to give people who are taking this technical author training course the best learning experience.
There are a total of 25 quizzes, 33 videos, and 11 readings. The last week is devoted to a capstone project, where the assignments are peer-reviewed and learners receive valuable feedback to further improve.
As mentioned before, the course is free to join. However, to get a certificate, which you can share on your LinkedIn profile too, learners have to pay somewhere around Rs. 3,615, before tax, per month as a subscription fee. You can cancel anytime, however, the course certificate will only be available if you subscribe to the course.
Fair warning though; the orators in some of the videos are not native English users so expect some mispronunciations and stuff.
This course is best suited for people who are looking to go into research and want to sharpen their skills enough to write academic papers and academic content. Science writers and reporters can also potentially benefit from this research-oriented course.
Course 4: Writing Skills for Engineering Leaders, by Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (Coursera)
In typical Coursera fashion, this is also a 4-week long course. Taught by Gayle Moran and Beata Krupa, both Lecturers in Professional and Engineering Communication at RCEL, it is safe to say that the course is full of pedigree. Rice University itself features regularly in the top 100 universities across the world, so that should be a clear pointer of the standing of this course. That said, it covers the following aspects:
- How to approach various sub-disciplines within engineering.
- Using writing to create high-quality technical documents.
- Writing in a structured manner, taking care of style, tone, and voice.
- Writing clearly and concisely.
This technical author training will teach how to write sentences and paragraphs, how to write reports, how to maintain clarity and conciseness in your work, and how to plan, draft, revise and finish off a technical document.
The total study time is 16 hours and 33 minutes in this course. There are 38 videos, 8 quizzes, and 27 readings in the course as well, spread across 4 sections and 4 weeks.
Similar to the Moscow Institute course, this course is free to join as well. However, to get a certificate, which you can share on your LinkedIn profile too, learners have to pay somewhere around Rs. 3,615, before tax, per month as a subscription fee, which also includes a 7-day free trial.
This course is best suited for people with an engineering background or people looking to go into engineering or related fields, as the faculty, the course material, and the outline of the course are very much based on the discipline.
Course 5: Technical Author Training Courses One and Two, by Google (Google Developers)
Finally, the last course, or should I say, a bundle of courses, is from Google. Technical Writing Courses 1 and 2 are designed for people who want to write in IT, specifically, describing code.
Google says that they are aiming this course on two main demographics; software engineers and software engineering/computer science students. It also said that many related fields, such as product managers and marketers, have also benefited from taking the course.
Both the courses combined can take as long as 8 hours to complete, so it depends on the pacing of the individuals. Each course is divided into two main sections – pre-class and in-class. The pre-class class talks about the course objectives, hardware and network requirements for the course (that are nothing special), and the target audience. While in-class is the collection of all the course material that a learner has to go through in this technical author training course.
Technical Writing One is the basics course, and Google recommends taking the course first before progressing to Two. The course covers topics such as vocabulary, voice, sentence structuring, lists, and tables – the very basics of the language, in short.
On the other hand, Technical Writing Two concerns itself with the actual technical content writing. It teaches how to write first and subsequent drafts, how to edit the document yourself by proofreading and editing, how to organize larger documents, how to use graphics and present the information in the document to the best effect, how to establish context, how to use code properly and accurately and so on.
These courses are free to join and free to complete. However, there are no certificates to be had at the end of this course.
This course is best suited for coders who want to get their code across in as presentable a manner as possible to product managers, potential customers and investors, and the general public.
Being a technical author is becoming more and more rewarding as the industry grows and so does the level of education among the general masses. Today’s population consumes more technical content than any other generation before. As such, communicating difficult knowledge in an easy-to-understand language is nothing short of an art.
There are hundreds of technical author training courses out there, both online and offline. However, with the pandemic shaping our lives so much, online courses seem much more of a deal than offline courses. With their flexibility, rich content, and descriptive manner of teaching, online courses are becoming increasingly popular among people who want to train to become technical authors.
All the courses that are listed above are best suited to a specific field of technical writing, and this list covers all the major fields that concern themselves with technical content. All that remains to do now is to pick and choose the one that fits your goals and ambitions.