1. What is Technical Writing ?
Technical Writing is compiling information with reference to a context for a specific audience. Simply put, Technical Writing is creating content (description / images) for a product or process, keeping in mind the audience of the information. For Example: A user manual for a mobile phone.
The user manual (Technical Document) for a mobile phone (Context) should be prepared for the end user (Audience) and effectively convey the following Information:
- Descriptions of the parts of the device
- Scenario description i.e. when various features can be used
- Instruction on how to use the device
2. What kind of companies need Technical Writers ?
All companies that require information to be documented will need Technical Writers. Whether it is a web page, a product description brochure, an FAQ, an annual report or a process manual, technical writers have the required skill sets to create and deliver this content. Some of the key companies that need technical writers include:
- Information technology
- Computer hardware and software
- Consumer electronics
3. Why is Technical Writing important ?
Information is best used when documented. An obvious example of this would be the World Wide Web. Without creating content – what exactly would we be reading? So, the importance of Technical Writing and related professions like Instuctional Design, Content Writing and Business Communication, is creating a record of information. When you have a written record, it can be referenced, re-used, and enhanced, thus Technical Writing:
- Improves efficiency and thus, accuracy of tasks
- Reduces customer support costs
- Makes products easy to use
- Drive customer satisfaction
4. Could you explain in brief about the Technical writing process?
Technical documents are written by technical Writers or Information Developers.
- Technical Writers work in teams comprising Subject Matter Experts(SMEs), Quality Specialists, and Project Managers.
- Techical Writers interview these other specialists to roll in the content and get an understanding of how things work.
- Technical Writers then design, structure this information, and create the complete content to make the documentation ready for delivery to a customer.
5. What qualities does a good technical writer possess?
- The writer clearly understands the subject and describes the information with the correct user perspective
- The writer effectively communicates technical/complex information to the audience
- The writer clearly explains technology and related ideas to technical and non-technial audiences
6. Who can be a Technical Writer?
To be a Technical Writer one should:
- Be proficient in writing
- Have the ability to understand technology, software applications and business domains
- Have good people skills
- Have good listening skills
A technical writing career is suitable for all graduates in Engineering, Arts, Science and Commerce
7. What career opportunities would be available in the field of Technical Writing?
Just like software development and business process outsourcing, technical writing has been witnessing a growing demand for the past 20 years. Moreover, with the popularity and effectiveness of blogs, product review sights, and online forums, technical writer’s opportunities have multiplied. So technical writers can be part of the fast-growing Technical Communications industry, a 1 billion USD opportunity in India. There is a need of about 40,000+ new technical writers per year. Technical Writers begin their careers on high-paying salaries. With experience and skills, this reward is even bigger. They can gain experience and knowledge to reach an expert level in a domain, like in any other profession.
8. How do you begin a career in Technical Writing?
It is critical to gain a certification on the fundamentals of your chosen career. Find the best institute that you have access to, read what the past students have to say about the institute, understand what you will be taught and enroll in the program of your choice. This would be the first step towards a career in technical writing.
9. What are the skills required for a technical writer?
If you are new to the technical writing profession then the following skills might help you decide if you could be a potential technical writer:
You are strong in communication
You are interested in understanding how businesses run
You like to write
You are a good listener
You have an enquiring mind (like to find out how things work)
You have practical experience in using a computer
You like interacting with people
You are self-motivated
You like to simplify information
You can adapt to new situations
You can make decisions on your own and back them up
You are a hard worker and willing to learn
10. I do not have a technical background. Would technical writing be an option for me?
Yes. People from various walks of life have chosen technical writing as a career option. For example, whether you are from the hotel industry, human resources, or a BPO, you can become a technical writer. Refer to the answer on skills required to become a technical writer.
11. I have a technical background. Would technical writing be an option for me?
Yes. Technical writers compile information for both the technical and the common user. Your technical background will help you learn the required technology faster and describe the product to the customer better. For example, if you are a software engineer and have strong written communication skills then producing API (Application Program Interface) documentation would be just the right kind of documentation area for you. Refer to the answer on skills required to become a technical writer.
12. Will I be taught the basics of English?
Technical documents are created by technical writers. A good technical writer is someone who has a good knowledge of English, is comfortable working with computers, can understand a subject/solution/product and describe the information in a simple way for the right readers. A working knowledge of particular software such as Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe RoboHelp, XML etc. are necessary for creating technical documents along with a sense of graphic design
13. I am currently employed. Will I have the option of attending the program during the weekend?
Yes. We have scheduled programs for the convenience of those who are currently employed and need to continue with their employment. You can attend the weekend batch for the TWB Associate Certification program.
14. I am currently working as a Customer Support executive. Would I qualify as a technical writer?
Yes. Customer Support executives talk to customers. Technical writers prepare content for customers. Both these professions communicate information and instructions to the customer. Furthermore, customer support executives have a great deal of knowledge on the product they support.
15. What is the career graph of a Technical Writer?
Traditionally a Technical Writer’s career path goes through the following stages:
2. Junior Technical Writer (1-2 years of experience)
3. Senior Technical Writer (2-3 years of experience)
4. Team Leader (5 years of experience)
5. Project Lead (7-8 years of experience)
6. Program Manager (10 years of experience)
7. Knowledge Manager / Manager Documentation / Manager Publications
8. Director Documentation / KM / Publications
Many technical writers migrate into this profession from jobs as programmers, lab technicians, research scientists, or engineers. Others begin as trainees in an IT department, develop their writing and grammar skills, and then move into fulltime technical writing positions. Technical writers also explore technical editing, training, quality management and process certifications as career moves.
16. What salaries do Technical Writers get?
According to the Society of Technical Communication (STC) India 2005 Salary Survey of Technical Communicators the median salary for technical communication professionals in India is Rs.3,74,761 per annum. The median salary for technical communicators with less than two years of experience is. Rs. 2,12,825 per annum. The median figure for those with two-three years of experience is slightly higher at Rs. 2,39,536. The three-four years of experience group earns a median salary of Rs. 3,42,194. The figure goes up to Rs. 4,16,584 for the four-seven years experience group. The median figure for those with seven to ten years of experience is Rs. 6,27,750 per year, while for those with over ten years of experience the figure is Rs. 7,56,273. Technical Writers based in Pune and Bangalore earn the highest salaries, followed by Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai in that order. According to the STC’s Survey Indian salaries for Technical Communicators are rising at a rate of almost 22% per year in many cities.
A Technical Writer’s salary depends on experience, expertise, designation and geographical location. Today in India, technical writing as a profession is witnessing a boom owing to the IT/ITES industry growth, which has stayed in double digits in the last decade or so and is expected to stay on the same path for years to come. It is also being aided by industrial and economic growth across the board and increase in globalization of Indian businesses and organizations. Technical Writing is also fueled by the need for consistent, quality information adhering to the global benchmark for corporations.