Technical Writing - What Makes a Technical Author?

Author : RyanFeest
Publish Date : 2021-04-08


Technical Writing - What Makes a Technical Author?

It's a question that people often ask, how do you get started as a technical author? Is there a specific qualification, educational or professional background you need? How do you get a break that leads you into the field? The bad news is that there is no standard answer; the good news is that there are some answers that may help anyway.

Professional Background

I became a technical author by accident; actually I didn't even know the term existed until two or three years of working as one. I worked as a trainer for a large mobile communications firm, and it seemed to me (and only me at the time) that it would be sensible to document our processes, policies and systems. This was both for consistency's sake and for new starters to be able to find their way around.

For me a technical writer can come from any professional background where they gain some experience of learning to document things - properly. That means easy to understand, easy to use literature that serves a purpose. Processes need mapping and explaining, as do computer systems (it's amazing the number of organisations running bespoke software where the functionality has never been written down) and so on.

If you can do that, then you're already an authoring professional and if you can't it shouldn't be too hard to learn. Ideally start small - a one page document is enough for the first run, and isn't a project so difficult that you'll need to spend much time planning it either. Then work up from there, the longest manual I've produced ran something like 400 pages but the same skills applied to it as my first procedure on how to process a sale on our system.

Educational Background

I studied Physics and Chemistry at University, I have a plethora of professional qualifications and picked up a certificate in Technical Writing as a by product of some other courses I was doing for my training role. Nonetheless none of this made me a technical author, I already was one - but specific training did enhance my skill set and enable me to tackle larger projects in a more organised fashion (which is very useful when it comes to time-critical projects and in today's business world - all projects are time-critical).

You don't need any specific training to be a technical author, just a logical approach, a clear writing style and the ability to be receptive to feedback. However there are professional qualifications out there and if you want to break into the field, you could do worse than research one that's relevant to your area and undertake it.

So the great news is that anyone who wants to be a technical writer can be one, there's no clearly defined path to becoming one either. If you want to succeed in this field you can.

Nick is the President of [http://www.authoring4u.com] a specialist consultancy based in Shenzhen China, which helps companies from around the world save time and money in the areas of; technical documentation, Internet presence and marketing and Press Relations.

Nick has just written a free e-book "Perfect Press Releases" which you can download for free from the Authoring For You website. So download it today!

It's a question that people often ask, how do you get started as a technical author? Is there a specific qualification, educational or professional background you need? How do you get a break that leads you into the field? The bad news is that there is no standard answer; the good news is that there are some answers that may help anyway.

Professional Background

I became a technical author by accident; actually I didn't even know the term existed until two or three years of working as one. I worked as a trainer for a large mobile communications firm, and it seemed to me (and only me at the time) that it would be sensible to document our processes, policies and systems. This was both for consistency's sake and for new starters to be able to find their way around.

For me a technical writer can come from any professional background where they gain some experience of learning to document things - properly. That means easy to understand, easy to use literature that serves a purpose. Processes need mapping and explaining, as do computer systems (it's amazing the number of organisations running bespoke software where the functionality has never been written down) and so on.

If you can do that, then you're already an authoring professional and if you can't it shouldn't be too hard to learn. Ideally start small - a one page document is enough for the first run, and isn't a project so difficult that you'll need to spend much time planning it either. Then work up from there, the longest manual I've produced ran something like 400 pages but the same skills applied to it as my first procedure on how to process a sale on our system.

Educational Background

I studied Physics and Chemistry at University, I have a plethora of professional qualifications and picked up a certificate in Technical Writing as a by product of some other courses I was doing for my training role. Nonetheless none of this made me a technical author, I already was one - but specific training did enhance my skill set and enable me to tackle larger projects in a more organised fashion (which is very useful when it comes to time-critical projects and in today's business world - all projects are time-critical).

You don't need any specific training to be a technical author, just a logical approach, a clear writing style and the ability to be receptive to feedback. However there are professional qualifications out there and if you want to break into the field, you could do worse than research one that's relevant to your area and undertake it.

So the great news is that anyone who wants to be a technical writer can be one, there's no clearly defined path to becoming one either. If you want to succeed in this field you can.

Nick is the President of [http://www.authoring4u.com] a specialist consultancy based in Shenzhen China, which helps companies from around the world save time and money in the areas of; technical documentation, Internet presence and marketing and Press Relations.

Nick has just written a free e-book "Perfect Press Releases" which you can download for free from the Authoring For You website. So download it today!

It's a question that people often ask, how do you get started as a technical author? Is there a specific qualification, educational or professional background you need? How do you get a break that leads you into the field? The bad news is that there is no standard answer; the good news is that there are some answers that may help anyway.

Professional Background

I became a technical author by accident; actually I didn't even know the term existed until two or three years of working as one. I worked as a trainer for a large mobile communications firm, and it seemed to me (and only me at the time) that it would be sensible to document our processes, policies and systems. This was both for consistency's sake and for new starters to be able to find their way around.

For me a technical writer can come from any professional background where they gain some experience of learning to document things - properly. That means easy to understand, easy to use literature that serves a purpose. Processes need mapping and explaining, as do computer systems (it's amazing the number of organisations running bespoke software where the functionality has never been written down) and so on.

If you can do that, then you're already an authoring professional and if you can't it shouldn't be too hard to learn. Ideally start small - a one page document is enough for the first run, and isn't a project so difficult that you'll need to spend much time planning it either. Then work up from there, the longest manual I've produced ran something like 400 pages but the same skills applied to it as my first procedure on how to process a sale on our system.

Educational Background

I studied Physics and Chemistry at University, I have a plethora of professional qualifications and picked up a certificate in Technical Writing as a by product of some other courses I was doing for my training role. Nonetheless none of this made me a technical author, I already was one - but specific training did enhance my skill set and enable me to tackle larger projects in a more organised fashion (which is very useful when it comes to time-critical projects and in today's business world - all projects are time-critical).

You don't need any specific training to be a technical author, just a logical approach, a clear writing style and the ability to be receptive to feedback. However there are professional qualifications out there and if you want to break into the field, you could do worse than research one that's relevant to your area and undertake it.

So the great news is that anyone who wants to be a technical writer can be one, there's no clearly defined path to becoming one either. If you want to succeed in this field you can.

Nick is the President of [http://www.authoring4u.com] a specialist consultancy based in Shenzhen China, which helps companies from around the world save time and money in the areas of; technical documentation, Internet presence and marketing and Press Relations.

Nick has just written a free e-book "Perfect Press Releases" which you can download for free from the Authoring For You website. So download it today!

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