Skills Required to Become A Technical Writer
Today Technical Writing has become one of the most flourishing and promising careers. Be it a graduate in English or bachelors in Engineering, a vast diversity in terms of qualification is found among people opting this as a career.
Technical Writers are people who would derive knowledge from the people who are specialist/expert in a particular technology and convey it to people who would like to know about the technology without going much into the complexities. So, basically a Technical Writer is expected to have an aptitude towards knowing various technologies as well as having good writing skills. And this is not an end line. You are supposed to have a good analyzing, documenting and designing skills. A Technical writer is supposed to write documents that are good at layout, easy to understand, as well as can be updated with much ease.
I have listed some of the basic skills for a technical writer that are required to get into the profession:
Writing skills: If you are someone who likes writing, then this career option is suitable for you. A technical writer needs to be good at grammar, punctuation and syntax. The document that you would prepare should be error-free from spelling and grammar mistakes.
Analyzing Skills: Technical Writers are not people who would simply put down their own thoughts and start documenting. If you are someone who can extract the most important information from a heap of documents and resources, frame it and interpret it in the simplest way, then you are at the right profession.
Adaptable to Technology Change: Technical Writers are by default expected to be adaptable with the technology change. You work for a specific technology for a certain period of time. As you move yourself to some other domain, you should be willing to learn about the prevailing technology of the concerned organization.
Know the Software Tool: This is one of the most important factors if you want your work to execute smoothly and effectively. Knowing the software tool is one of the most crucial things. Even if you have good writing and analyzing skills, creating a Help File in a particular output format would require that you should be a master of the tool which produces the desired output. The Help Authoring Tools have incorporated many advanced features that a particular task can be accomplished with much ease if you are familiar and proficient on how to use it.
Some of the important tools that are basically used in Technical Writings are:
Microsoft Word: This is the most powerful and easy tool for a Technical Writer. Know the basics of creating Styles, TOC, Cross References, Headers and Footers to make a simplified user document.
RoboHelp: Using this tool you can produce various outputs for a single document as Printed doc, Online help, Web Help, HTML Help, AIR Help etc. It is basically used for Online Help output generation.
Frame Maker: Produces the output same as the RoboHelp. However, it has some advanced features that manage lengthy manuals as the Aeronautical Manuals etc.
Snagit: It is basically used for taking screenshots with a better resolution.
MS Visio: Used for producing flow charts in a much easier and effective way.
For someone who would just be starting as a career in Technical Writing, these skills are enough to give a head start to their career. With the years of experience more and more technologies and advancement of Technical Writing will be added up. The learning curve fir a Technical Writer is never ending.
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