Technical writing details processes, and can be seen in things like instruction manuals or guides that explain procedures or applications. While it previously mostly included just user manuals, technical writing has now expanded to include any format that communicates technical information. It can also include visual charts or posters that help convey information. This type of writing is largely important in academic fields when sharing results or spreading complex information. Additionally, technical writing is also big in tech fields when showing how something works or where giving a step-by-step explanation is necessary.
What is the Purpose of Technical Writing?
The purpose of technical writing is ultimately to explain a specialized subject – such as a process, idea, or application – to the intended readers. More specifically, technical writing is meant to clarify and define these topics, making them understandable and accessible for the audience. This can range from teaching them how to perform a task, to explaining the significance of a piece of information, to instructing the readers on the use of an object or application. For example, technical writing could involve creating a standard operating procedure that explains the steps required to maintain a piece of equipment, or outlining a plan for a team of software developers to create a new piece of software.
Why is Technical Writing Important?
Just as important as the question of “what is technical writing?” is the question of “why is technical writing needed?”. The answer to this question is a simple one; technical writing is important because it defines and explains the processes, applications and practices that are necessary for businesses to function. Without technical writing, workers in many industries would have no way of knowing how to perform many of the tasks that keep a business running and help it to be successful. Technical writing can also be vital for facilitating communication between workers. Specifically, it can allow workers with different levels of understanding of a relevant topic to discuss it with one another, getting everyone onto the same page.
In addition to its importance in regards to business workers, technical writing is also vital for end-users such as customers. It can be used to instruct end-users on how to make use of an appliance, application, or other product – something which is particularly necessary in the modern day, when many kinds of products are becoming increasingly complicated. In addition, technical writing gives customers a way to contact a company for help if they are having trouble with using or installing a product. All in all, technical writing plays a part in almost every industry, and is necessary to accomplish such tasks as instructing workers on their duties, explaining important ideas, or teaching customers how to use or install a product.
Benefits of Technical Writing
Technical writing can provide numerous benefits to a business or organization, with specific benefits depending on the kind of technical writing. One of the most prominent examples of this of is that technical writing can help to ensure workers are properly informed and trained to perform their duties via SOPs or training manuals, which in turn ensures that a business runs efficiently and smoothly. In addition, customer support-based technical writing such as FAQ’s can help to build a sense of trust between a business and its customers, increasing the chance of return customers. Product plans can improve a development team’s ability to coordinate their efforts and can ensure that every member of the team knows what they need to do.
Types of Technical Writing
Technical writing can take many forms, each of which are used in different situations to accomplish specific goals. Here are some examples of the different kinds of technical writing:
- User Manuals
- Product Development Plans
- Standard Operating Procedures
- Case Studies
- White Papers
- Help Guides
- Project Proposals
- Knowledge Transfer Plans
What are Technical Writers?
Technical writers, as the term implies, are at their core workers who perform technical writing. However, there is more to them than that. Because technical writing is based around explaining processes or applications, which can be quite complex, technical writers need to be able to translate complicated information and ideas into forms that are clear and easy for readers to understand. In addition, technical writers do extensive research on topics before writing about them, which causes them to gain more and more knowledge on those topics – though not usually to the same degree as subject matter experts on a topic would have. This means they can be quite helpful with tasks and projects related to topics they have studied.
Generally, fields of science or technology have a higher demand for technical writers. They often work between their clients who are more well-versed in the technology and their readers who are less so. Thus, as previously mentioned, it is important for the technical writer to both understand the information and present it in a way that allows readers to easily understand it. Ultimately, the reader wants to use that knowledge and apply it to their own objectives, so they need to understand the information and all its applications.
What do Technical Writers Write About?
As previously mentioned, technical writing is especially important in fields like technology, science, or engineering. To effectively convey information, technical writers do not necessarily need to be experts in the field they are writing about, but they should be sufficiently well-versed in the subject in order to explain it well. It would also be helpful to have a broad understanding of adjacent fields to place them within applicable contexts. Some technical writers stay within a specific field when writing articles, and narrowing their focus like this allows them to become highly proficient in their field of specialization. In doing so, technical writers could establish a few companies that they consistently write for and thus will develop professional relationships with.
How do Technical Writers Get Started When Writing?
In their writing, technical writers should first plan or outline their work, and should have a clear vision of their purpose, whether it is to teach information, convince readers, or sell a product. The way writers present information can vary depending on the audience. Therefore, the writer should tailor their approach based on factors such as how knowledgeable readers already are regarding the subject, and the project they want to accomplish using the information. Because its primary purpose is to inform, the tone of the writing will naturally be neutral and formal. The language should be concise, and tools like visual aids can help present information.
Careers in Technical Writing
Generally, professional technical writers have a degree in English, and possibly an emphasis on a specific field they can specialize in. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent and complicated, it is more important than ever to be adept at breaking down detailed steps into ones that can be quickly processed and don’t require specialized knowledge or training to perform. Thus, a degree in a field they can specialize in writing about is extremely helpful. Furthermore, in our increasingly modernizing world, it is easier to work virtually, as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows writers more flexibility and freedom in planning their work schedule and timelines; this is quite important, considering that writers can have other commitments outside of their job.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 55,400 technical writing jobs in 2021, and in the next decade, the projected growth rate is about 6%. Most writers work full-time, but it is also possible for to become freelance technical writers and find projects online. There are freelancing websites with projects that writers can work on. Sometimes, it will be cheaper for smaller businesses to freelance their projects instead of hiring full-time technical writers.
The demand for freelance technical writing roles has also begun to increase recently. As writers continue to write, they will develop their portfolios, and their writing skills and technical knowledge will also greatly improve over time. While this type of work does have a learning curve, after a while, technical writers can become very familiar with their field and maybe even develop a routine. Together with the aforementioned growing demand for technical writers, this makes such writers even more appealing to businesses.
Why Are Technical Writers Important?
In our modern world, more and more work is being moved online, and technology is constantly developing and innovating. As a result, technical writers are more valuable than ever. There is a demand for those who can explain technical information well and in a digestible format, whether that be as a report, a brief, a manual, or even an email – any of these formats could be used in technical writing. The skill to do this can provide a lot of flexibility in work schedules, and allows the writer to improve with more practice. As such, demand for this kind of work is projected to increase, and it is definitely it is worth considering getting into.
Contact Us for Technical Writing Services
Nationwide, Essential Data Corporation is a leader in providing high-quality technical writing and documentation services. We have technical writers with experience across multiple industries who can provide writing services. Our skilled and knowledgeable technical writers can perform technical writing for any project our clients need, no matter what industry they work in or what writing they need done. Essential Data will work with our clients to understand their specific goals and obstacles, and then pick the ideal approach and consultant for that project.
Essential Data is a cost-effective writing service that can provide anywhere from just a single technical writer, to a team, depending on the client’s needs and the quantity of technical documentation necessary. We also have Engagement Managers that clients can work with at no additional cost. These managers are located in 30 different local offices, so it becomes very convenient to set up a meeting. Our company has been featured in national as well as international publications. Furthermore, we have over 40 years of experience with more than 500 clients.
We specialize in technical writing and documentation and have connections in industries like financial, technology, healthcare-pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and more. We pride ourselves on having a quick turnaround time and remaining within the client’s budgets for their projects. Essential Data can work with custom requests and help add personalized touches to specific projects. We are very familiar with technology in the digital age, and helping our clients with their technical writing needs is our specialty.
How EDC can Help with Technical Writing
Looking to learn more about Essential Data’s capabilities and the benefits of technical writing? Check out some of our related articles below:
- Technical Writers: Everything You Need to Know
- Tech Writers: Simplifying Complex Topics
- Technical Vs. Business Writing: What You Need to Know
Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Written by Erika Yan