Do you love taking complicated ideas and presenting them in an easy-to-follow manner? Do you know how to explain a complex topic without dumbing it down? These are two of the most important skills you can have when working in the world of technical writing services.
It’s Different, And It Ain’t Easy
Bill Gates once said that “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t really understand it.” Explaining difficult concepts isn’t always easy, but it’s essential when offering technical writing services. Technical writers are a special breed in that they love creating great content, but also have the exceptional ability to help people grasp information quickly.
If you want to start working as a technical writer, a love of in-depth research and extensive knowledge in one or more industries is a must. Here are some other ideas for building the skills, knowledge and experience you need to confidently offer technical writing services to clients.
Learn What Technical Writing Services Involve
Many technical writers work in the software, hardware, and cloud computing services, but technical writing is needed in just about any industry. No matter what company you’re writing for, technical content generally falls into two categories:
- Support content like online user guides that help customers use a product or service. You help people navigate new software features, put something together, or operate hardware, including everyday appliances.
- Corporate guides help employees understand technical concepts and procedures they need to do their jobs.
Build Your Technical Writing Skills
The quickest way to find out what those are? Look at job postings for technical writing services in the industries and topics that interest you most. Pull the required skills and experience each job calls for and then list the top 5 that are common to most of them. If you already have these skills, great! If you’re not up to speed on one or more, make it your goal to learn them. Here’s what your list might include:
- Strong verbal and writing skills. This is a given for technical writers. While some companies prefer a writer with a communications degree, it isn’t always a requirement. What matters most is your ability to write clear and concise content on often complicated topics.
- Experience in the industry or topic you’re writing about. Want to write about cloud storage? It helps to have intimate knowledge of coding.
- Research skills. We live in a constantly changing world and that sometimes means hours of thorough research, particularly in fields that are rapidly evolving, like tech.
- An understanding of your audience. It takes some sociological skills to be a good technical writer. Before you begin to write, you must understand who you are writing to. Knowing how the reader thinks and figuring out the best way to deliver content to them is one of the most needed skills for a tech writer.
- Technical writing tools simplify the process of technical writing. Learn which ones other technical writers rely on and work to become proficient in one or more of them.
Resources to Check Out
Before you can educate others, you need to educate yourself. There are plenty of resources available to help you do just that. Many colleges and universities post free technical writing guidelines on their websites. Read up-to-date technical writing guidebooks. Take an online or on-campus course – the certification is a nice addition to your resume! And check out sites like the Society for Technical Communication, which offers online courses and certification programs. Finally, read lots of examples of content that simply explains complex ideas.
Technical writing services are a highly-prized commodity, and skill in technical writing can give your career a real boost. Use these ideas to start planning and writing top quality tech content. It won’t be an overnight process, but the investment you make now will reward you many times over in the years to come.