How to Become a Technical Writer

Technical writers create procedural or "how to" documents - most often for a user who will access documents either in a manual or in an online database. The good news is that the demand for technical writers is on the rise. Whenever a software application or a product is developed, supplementary documentation is instantly needed. There is a tremendous demand for technical writers to create documents that show users how to utilize software programs. Industries include: high-tech companies, banking and financial services, medical and pharmaceutical businesses, call-centers, and many others. A well-trained technical writer will not run out of job opportunities.


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    Learn the technical writing requirements. If you are inclined towards technical writing, explore this profession a bit more to find out if it really is for you. Technical writing can be your field if you are interested in technology, writing, and if you like training others. It is also a good field to start in if you want to pursue a high-tech career.
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    Go for a diverse writing program. It is usually rare to find a program which combines communication with technical writing. However, you can go for a degree in communication with an emphasis on technical writing. Technical writers usually have a college degree. Having a relevant degree or training in the field can multiply your chances of landing technical writing jobs.
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    Select a technical writing track. Technical writing degrees normally give you the option of technical, medical, and scientific options for your degree. You need to select the option that interests you the most so that you can understand the style, terminology, and trends of that specific area.
    • If you are not enrolled in a technical writing degree you can go for a double major in writing and another field that you are interested in, such as biology, computer science, graphic design, law, engineering, or mechanics. If a double major is not an option for you, you can always learn on your own.
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    Be tech-savvy. Although computer science classes at your school can help you a lot in a technical writing career, you should have knowledge of various software programs. Some important software programs to focus on include Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe FrameMaker, Madcap Flare, Adobe Creative Suite, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Visio, as well as HTML coding. Being proficient with these programs is usually a prerequisite when you are applying for a technical writing job.
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    Add an Associate's degree or certification. Keep on updating your credentials. This will give you a competitive edge in the technical writing field. The more you acquire, the better off you will be. This would mean more job opportunities and additional relevance in the technical writing field.
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    Volunteer for experience. Experience can open up several job opportunities for you. You don’t have to wait to finish your degree in order to gain experience. You can call up local businesses and ask if they require anyone to write their technical documents. Most businesses would be willing to have their manual written from a qualified person at a low cost or for free.


  • Always assign some time for proofreading. It not only removes errors but also gives you new ideas to improve your piece.
  • In order to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. Read frequently to stay updated with new trends and developments.
  • Know your audience and customize your content accordingly.


  • Avoid status quo or otherwise you will lag behind. Keep learning, this is the only way you will succeed in the field.
  • Look for accredited programs. Do not go for a degree or a program where you are not sure about the quality standards.
  • While volunteering to work for a business, decide beforehand about the scope and the amount of work you can do for them for free.

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Categories: Better Writing | Technical Writing