Simply put, Technical Writing is all about composing communication for users of products and software. Suppose you are a consumer totally at sea about a new product, what do you do? You hunt for that user’s manual, read up what’s written there in a language that you understand, and then approach the product with a new confidence. A tech writer somewhere had just made your life a lot easier.
First, the big news: Tech Writing, a profession that has been around for the last 20-odd years, is in the midst of an explosive growth. Jobs are aplenty, the demand for good qualified tech writers hitting the roof. But does that mean anyone can walk in and get a job? Far from it, say Helen Shukla and Annapoorna Ravichander, the two directors of The Writers Block (TWB), who between them have about 40 years of hardcore tech writing experience. Theoretically, any graduate with knowledge of English could take a crack at the profession. But it is not that easy either.
You need to understand the field, be adept at the tech writing fundamentals and fine-tune your writing to suit the industry needs. TWB, which has trained over 210 students since November 2005, offers a TWB Associate Certification programme (240 training hours) and a TWB Fundamental Certification programme (120 training hours).
Online Certification Programme
Now, it has launched a 90-day online programme catered to both working and non-working professionals. The idea is to let the candidates take the course at their own time. The interactive learning methodology features an information, material-packed CD that includes even video presentations and online messaging service to get doubts cleared.
TWB Online is based on the TBW Fundamental Certification programme and carries the same value as the regular offline course. The programme will expose the students to Introduction/ Structured Editor; Fundamentals of Technical Writing; Documentation Methodology; Authoring Tool, and a Documentation Project.
The student could receive alerts on upcoming course events, get instant access to TWB announcements, upload assignments on their own, view their grades online anytime, interact with fellow students and facilitators using the inbuilt chat, post queries and read answers using the forum, and learn through video demonstrations. The students must have a command over the English language with a basic understanding of sentence construction and grammar and a working knowledge of how to use a computer. For more details, students could search www.twb-dl.com.
Basically, a technical writer is required to write in precise and simple English about highly specialized areas. The writer will, therefore, be a bridge between software developers and the users of this software.
Here’s what Reshmi Rachel Thomas, an ex-student of this programme, has to say about the course: “Students are made to participate in various mock work situations to get an idea about real-life work situations. The trainers also share troubleshooting tips during the training sessions.”
To get the wannabe tech writers thinking, here are some points to ponder: The average salary for an entry-level technical writer is Rs. 2.5 lakh per annum, which could be as high as Rs. 20 lakh per annum for people with 11 years of experience.