Are you thinking about becoming a technical writer? Good for you. A proficient technical writer is always in demand.
For some people, though, technical writing is quite a challenge. After all, you need to take a complicated system and turn it into something more legible.
Don’t worry, though. We have some tips that can help you with technical writing. Check them out!
Tips on Improving Your Technical Writing
Focus on clarity
The number one goal of technical writing is to write clearly. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about a consumer product or a high-end machine that only professionals use.
When writing a highly technical document meant for non-technical people, write it so the average people can understand. Accompany each technical bit with a short explanation so the readers won’t feel lost.
Technical documents meant for professionals should use proper attributions and references. That way the ones who wish to learn more can do so without making the document too long.
Include ALL of the necessary details
Boeing’s manual for their new 737 MAX leaves out important details on how to counter the new MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). As a result, hundreds of lives perished.
Spend a good chunk of your time to plan out which information is crucial and which are fillers. Good technical writing must never leave important bits untouched.
Word count is way down there on your priority list. Lengthy technical documents are hard on the eyes. Try to get the information across using as few words as possible. The readers might be in a hurry, you know.
Use graphics when necessary
Graphics can help illustrate a concept in an elegant manner. Using a flowchart, for instance, can help describe a process better than a wall of text. It’s especially true when one step of the process can fork into multiple other steps.
Ask for feedback
You can’t go anywhere as a writer without listening to feedback. Different organizations follow different rules and guidelines. What makes good technical writing in one industry may make a jumbled mess in another.
“I’m just trying to build a portfolio. How do I get feedback?”
You can practice your technical writing skills while building a portfolio and get quality feedback at the same time. How? By making documentation for open source projects.
One of the big hassles of using an open source project is poor documentation. If you can somehow prove your worth by improving the software documentation, you can have a pretty solid portfolio on hand.
Proofread your writing.
Misspellings and grammar errors may leave the readers utterly confused. Be thorough during the proofreading process. Should you need any help, use the online spelling and grammar checking tool. It’s easy to use and you can comb out errors in no time flat.
Alright, that’s all for now. If you’re serious about jumping into the technical writing field, we highly suggest majoring in one. Some universities offer Professional Writing major, so if you can find one near you, go ahead. Whenever possible minor in a subject related to the industry you wish to write for.
Don’t think the road is blocked when going back to uni is no longer an option for you. Try building your portfolio so potential employers can see what you can do.