A career in technical writing can be a very good choice for professionals who want to have a remote job-related side hustle as well as for tech-savvy writers who know the belts in the sphere. Below are the necessary skills that both types of writers must possess to get a job.
1. Seek Software Assistance
Technical writing today is done only in technical documentation software. You should research the market to find the best solution for your style and purposes. The more streamlined, universal, and clutter-free it is, the less time you will waste to get things done. Test at least 2-3 solutions to see which one works the best for you. A good one will become your partner for years!
2. Be Ready for Different Types of Documentation
Every technical writer has to know different types of technical documentation, their purposes, and characteristics. Average products usually go through 8 product life cycles, and it’s good to be acquainted with technical documents for them all:
- Pre-sales – demos, proposals, presentations, market research reports, whitepapers:
- Sale Agreement – tender bids, press releases, sales contracts;
- Requirements – compliance standards, lists of features, benchmarks;
- Architecture & design – documentation architecture, language support;
- Development & testing – UX reports, online support, user manuals;
- Installation & deployment – installation and troubleshooting guides;
- After-sales service – warranties and service contracts;
- Maintenance & migration – manuals and support guides.
3. Writing Process Should Be Easy
Most beginner writers think that particular types of writing or technical writing as a whole is difficult for them. The truth is that difficulty is not a real problem. The amount of planning and research is! Before you start writing anything, make sure to spend around 40-50% of the time to close all the gaps in your head and plan the documentation thoroughly. This will make writing a lot easier!
4. Outline the Goal & Scope
Planning a document, you have to clearly outline the goal of each part of the document. The goals must be clear enough to define your scope and keep you from including not enough or too much information. The scope must be justified by the goal and allow your text to reach it in the shortest route possible.
5. Ditch the Word Count
Word count can be important for many types of writers, but not for technical writers. In this sphere, a document is complete when it solves the user problem. You should aim at the most concise word count possible without omitting any important information. Think of it as a balance between size, comprehensiveness, and straightforwardness. The last two are always the priority but can be achieved in different document sizes.
Invent Your Own Tips!
The truth is that the process of technical and any other writing can be customized by every writer. Feel free to establish your own rules and scenarios if they make your workflow more efficient. At the same time, never forget to seek help from experts as they’re the carriers of tips and tricks tested by decades of technical writing. Work hard, and you’ll become one soon!