Have you heard about Ramchitramanas written by the famous Indian poet Tulsidas in the 16th century? The poem has seven sections that give us one page to be read for seven days a week. It is an epic piece of writing which people continue to read generations after generations. That is called the power of writing.
What is Writing?
Writing is a means of sharing your thoughts, your learnings. It is also a means to record a piece of information. You can write what you read or learn and share it with your colleagues or friends.
It has the power to grab the attention of people.
But are you wondering when did writing ever start?
Evolution of Writing
Writing started almost 5500 years ago when none of us reading or writing were present. Strange?
It all started in the form of some drawing on the walls of caves. As time evolved, so did the writing form too.
People then started writing using symbols on the barks of trees. That was a medium of communication then.
Sooner writing scripts developed, and we then have people writing languages on paper.
It was a time when people used to read newspapers.
Over the past 20 years, writing has grown on digital platforms. We have people writing more on the Internet than on paper.
I won’t be surprised when we would hear that paper is a thing in history.
When we speak about writing, content writing and technical writing have gained popularity.
Here in this blog, I will be discussing Technical writing. But if you want to know about Content writing, you can visit my blog on Content writing.
In this article of mine, I would be talking about
- What is Technical Writing?
- Who is a Technical Writer?
- Skills needed to be a Technical Writer
- Documents that are written by a Technical Writer
- Companies that hire a Technical Writer
- Are Technical Writers in demand?
This article must be read by those who are thinking of making a transition in their career to Technical writing or starting afresh and are trying to find out Is it for me or not?
What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is a type of work used to provide technical information in a form that can be easily understood by its target audience.
For example, have you read a Manual/Online Help for a mobile when you were stuck up with a feature while using your phone? If your answer is yes, then you have read a Technical document.
Did you find it difficult to understand? If no, that’s the beauty of Technical Writing.
Technical Writing serves as a bridge between Technology creators and Technology users.
The people who have to use the machines must get a detailed document to use it. It is impossible to explain all the features in one demo that companies usually arrange when buying any product from the market.
Today Technical Writing is not restricted to documents; it has gone far beyond. Today it involves the creation of videos, audio-visuals, online help, and so on.
Evolution of Technical Writing
It all started way back in the early centuries when a doctrine for Pythagoras was written.
Then it evolved during the Industrial revolution. People wrote User Manuals for heavy machinery and equipment.
But later on, this skill picked up more popularity.
After World war II, when a transistor was developed, it was available at a low price. Many small companies wanted to use it but didn’t know any technical specifications of this product.
It is then a technical specification document was written that helped these companies and expand their business.
The story continues, and now we have technical writing as an integral part of almost any industry you may think of.
Who is a Technical Writer?
A Technical Writer is a person who writes Technical documents. Simple definition?
Yes, the definition might be simple, but the work done is not that simple.
A Technical Writer must
- Love technology
- Enjoy writing and know the language.
- Be able to convert complex context into simple language for customers.
- Write according to the audience’s understanding level.
Skills needed to be a technical writer
- You need to have good communication skills and knowledge of the language.
- You should be passionate about technology.
- You need to be a thinker.
- You need to have networking skills and should be able to speak to the Subject Matter expert to gather information.
- You need to be able to manage your time efficiently.
- You need to be patient as writing takes its time to evolve.
In short, you should be self-motivated and have a pleasing personality.
Documents prepared by a Technical writer
- RFP(Request for Proposal)
It is a document that is prepared by the company to ask its vendors to submit their proposals. It will describe the nature of the work.
The proposal is a document sent as a reply to RFP. It will contain Technical and cost bids. It will have information like the products that will be used, the team’s size, etc.
- SRS(System Requirement Specification)
IT companies usually prepare this document. It will specify the performance requirements that are required for the application. Say, for example, the system should handle 500 or 1000 transactions, and so on.
It is a marketing document for the end customer. It will contain technical specifications along with features of the product/service.
- Data Sheets
It is purely a technical document that contains specifications for a product, like the Datasheet of a transistor.
- White Paper
It is a document of 5-8 pages that gives the user information about the technology. It will provide them with the facts, like a White paper on an Embedded system.
- Release notes
A few page documents will tell the users about the changes that happen after the product’s last release, like a Release note for Microsoft Windows 10(after Microsoft Windows 7).
- Installation Guide
It is a document that will give step-by-step instructions on how to install a particular product. It will also mention things that need to be taken care of before the installation begins.
- Administrator Guide
It is a Technical document that is usually shared with product administrators. It contains details about the configuration and maintenance of the application.
- User Guide
This type of document will help the user to understand how to use the specific product. It is mostly created for electronic equipment or software, like a User Guide for a phone.
- Online Help
It is the most popular way of providing help to the user. The help instructions are directly linked to the product on the network, making it easier for them to search for a specific type of help. Like we have Online Help in Microsoft Word or any other applications.
- Training Material
The study material is designed to conduct classroom, online, or self-paced learning like training for Oracle SQL.
- Test cases
It is used only by the development team. It contains conditions in which the product needs to be tested and shares the expected result.
- API Documentation
This document explains how an API(Application Program Interface) needs to be integrated with an existing product or tool to achieve a particular functionality.
- Command References
This type of document is written explicitly for developers. It contains the command, parameters, and conditions in which the command can work.
- Process Documentation
It is an internal document for the company. It contains the process that is followed and also tells about the person responsible for the particular process.
- Knowledge Base Documents
It is a document that contains detail on how to do a particular task related to the product, which cannot be covered otherwise in the User Guide, like the recipe booklet that you get when you purchase a microwave oven.
- Maintenance Manual
This type of document will help you understand how you can maintain the product effectively.
Companies that are hiring Technical Writer
Technical Writers are needed in almost all industries, as most enterprises have a product or service to offer. And if this so, there is always a need for documents for their internal team and their end customers.
Technical writer jobs are available in different industry verticals like
Are Technical Writers in demand?
As long as companies exist, products or services would live. Then we will also have a technical document to help the users understand that product or service.
Now, these documents may not always be in a hard copy format. The format of the document is changing; everything might migrate on online platforms.
We may also have AI to help the Technical Writers in their writing.
But Technical writing is about understanding the audience and writing a complex document that they can understand.
Any technology can’t replace this.
So the demand for the Technical Writer will always remain.
We only need to keep ourselves updated with the latest tools used by the Technical Writer to keep the table rolling.
I hope this article of mine has answered many of your questions. Please comment about how did you like this article.
You can also read about the Need for digital marketing for Freelancing as a professional.
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