I am seeing there is still a great interest in people wanting to become Technical Writers. For that reason, I am going to review some steps to become one.
If you are currently employed:
• write about your job and what the requirements are for that position.
• write about all your daily tasks and how long it takes to perform the job.
• begin to write even if it is about a simple process or procedure that you perform daily.
• create mappings or diagrams depicting those procedures.
This is a good way to see if you really would like to become a Technical Writer because when you begin to write about your functions, you can see that it is not an easy task.
To improve your skills, take classes to develop and improve:
• your writing and grammar skills, as documents have to be clear, precise, and error-free.
• your communication skills for not only conveying instructions verbally and within documents, but for also improving your listening skills.
To search out writing opportunities, you could:
• begin by reviewing a list of potential jobs and their requirements. Find and focus on those companies that interest you and see what types of documents they produce, review their style of writing, and see if you can be of help to them. Also, consider other writing opportunities and see if you can begin to work as an intern.
• look into communication as well as presentation positions as these also involve a lot of writing. From that experience, you can then call yourself a Technical Communicator. Also look into analysis, coordinator, translator, and training positions as they all involve communication and writing skills.
• look into freelancing positions to make sure you would enjoy being a Technical Writer. These positions will allow you to experience what it is like to have to stick to set deadlines and simultaneously be flexible enough to adjust to changing requirements. In other words, it will show you how adaptable you are.
• become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in a particular field by taking classes for any technical skills that really interest you, and write about it.
• start off in a writing group to meet others and network. With today’s social media advantages, join groups on and off line and communicate\meet up with others.
The skills for a successful technical writing career are similar to those for success in any career. Be focused, logical, organized creative, persistent, know the product, and apply the new platinum rule ‘treat others the way they would like to be treated’. If you do not get along with your clients, users, or SMEs then you won’t be successful. Make sure you understand each other and that you are all on the same page when beginning a new project and especially when writing globally.
As a Technical Writer you will be writing among other documents, Requirement, Technical, and Functional Specifications, as well as being an Analyst, Usability Expert, and Designer. This is a very multifaceted career if you enjoy writing.
If you have more to add to this review, please leave a comment. Thank you.