Whether you know it or not, you are a beneficiary of Technical Writing. Unless you live under a rock, you have used different home electronic appliances. These appliances may include a TV, Radio, Fridge, Oven, Cooker, or more.
When these electronic appliances are bought, some booklet or document accompanies them in the packaging. The booklets or documents serve as user manuals to help you use the appliances. These user manuals are made possible by technical writing.
Technical writing is used to provide technical information in fields such as computer hardware and software, engineering, consumer electronics, finance, and more.
In this article, I will give you a comprehensive overview of technical writing based on the computer software field. I will provide you with answers based on the questions below:
- What is technical writing?
- Do you need to know how to code to get into technical writing?
- Can you create a career with technical writing as the primary source of income?
- Which resources to use to get started?
What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is preparing instruction manuals, how-to guides, tutorials, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information in an easy-to-understand manner.
There are two types of Technical Writing:
- End-user documentation
- Technical Content Writing.
End-user documentation provides instructions for the end-user of a given product or software. The goal of end-user documentation is to help users understand how to use the product effectively, efficiently and achieve desired outcomes. It can take various forms, such as user manuals, doc files, FAQs, and other forms of support material.
Technical Content Writing
Technical Content writing falls in the category of content marketing. Content marketing involves creating and sharing online material such as blogs that do not directly promote a brand but are intended to bring interest in its products and services.
According to a study, 85% of consumers research online before buying something. Tech companies and startups know this statistic. For that reason, they are hiring Technical Writers to create technical content for their blogs.
The technical content aims to help a user solve a particular problem. For example, let us say you search on your browser for how to solve a specific problem. Then, Google will show you all the articles related to your search.
These articles will be from blogs that have anticipated your problem and written how to solve the problem. If the company or the person who has written the article has a product or software that can solve your problem, they will suggest it. And that is how you may buy their product or do business with them.
Do you need to know how to code to get into technical writing?
Technical writing mainly involves writing about the software or tech products. These products are created using programming languages or technologies. Therefore, to write about such products, you have to be familiar with the programming languages or technologies used to create them.
In my case, I have been into technical content writing, working with tech companies to create technical content for their blogs, and most of those technical articles involve coding. So, my technical writing process involves coding a project and writing about it.
However, you do not necessarily need to know how to code to get into technical writing. For example, you can be a web designer writing articles about design or design tools. Also, you can be a data analyst writing articles on data analysis and tools.
Technical writers often work closely with subject matter experts (developers, engineers, etc.) to gather the information they need to create technical articles. So while knowing how to code is not a requirement, being familiar with technical concepts, processes, and procedures and communicating them clearly are essential skills for a technical writer.
Can you create a career with technical writing as the primary source of income?
I have been into technical writing for a year now, and it has been my primary source of income or the main thing I do. I have been freelancing as a technical writer, where the lowest I have been paid for an article is $100, while the highest I have been paid for an article is $1K+.
Read here how I make $1k+ a month with technical writing and how you can too.
I have a technical writing friend I met on Twitter called Derick, who has been in Technical Writing for seven years. He is from the USA, but he is currently living in Thailand, where he makes enough money with technical writing to cover all his expenses.
Which resources to use to get started with technical writing?
To start with technical writing, I recommend the Google Technical Writing course. The course is a collection of courses and learning resources aimed at helping you become a better technical writer.
The courses are targeted at people with at least some background in coding. People with backgrounds in coding are the ones who will find the courses easier to understand. Also, you need at least a little writing proficiency in English.
The Google Technical Writing course is at least broken into two parts.
- Technical Writing One
- Technical Writing Two
Technical Writing One teaches you how to write clearer technical articles, while Technical Writing Two helps technical writers improve their technical writing skills.
In this article, you have learned what technical writing is and the different types of technical writing. Coding knowledge can be an advantage in technical writing, but it is not a must-have requirement. Additionally, it is possible to create a successful technical writing career as the primary source of income. You can use the Google Technical Writing Course to get started with technical writing.
Follow me on Twitter at Bonnie for daily content on Technical Writing.
Top comments (3)
I want a screenshot like yours 😄.
Thank for sharing.
bonnie, you're my biggest inspirtion. i'm currently where you were in 2020. just newbie struggling to learn coding & tech writing. i love your articles, see you t the top bruv.