A Non-Technical Guide To Technical Writing

A specialized form of written communication, technical writing has evolved into a self-sufficient profession. As a result, highly-qualified technical & academic writers are in huge demand in a knowledge-based economy, particularly in software engineering, IT & Networking, telecommunications, financial services, engineering, and healthcare.

Like any other type, the primary focus of technical writing is to inform the audience about something. It is the nature of the audience that makes technical writing distinct from other writing styles. As the name indicates, technical writing is much more domain-specific, employing technical jargon & definitions and conveying information with as much clarity and efficiency as possible.

So, what makes technical writing different from other kinds of write-ups? And what does it take to craft a cohesive & informative technical write-up? This article investigates.

The Characteristics of Technical Writing

The primary purpose of technical writing from the economic standpoint is translating & communicating industry-related, domain/business-specific, and heavily technical information into layman-friendly documentation & publications. So naturally, technical writers need multi-talented professionals with sound domain knowledge and exceptional written communication skills.

Technical writing is not flowery, self-indulgent, or exaggerated. It needs to be concise, well-organized, and showcase findings & insights to the readers. Unlike most other types of academic writing, conclusions & insights appear right at the beginning of technical write-ups. Technical writers must ensure that readers do not have to put in much effort to look for the key findings in the technical report.

The domain of technical writing generally encompasses documents such as manuals, training materials, technical reports & documents, illustrations, journals & newsletters, and even web pages. Most technical write-ups find usage not only among employees & trainees but also customers & end users.

These skills and responsibilities of technical writers are pretty specific, as the requirements are niche & focused. Technical writers and academic writers in professional academic paper help services have distinct objectives & responsibilities.

The following section takes a look.

What Does A Technical Writer Do?

 Their priamry job is to create specialized content for a specific target audience. So, of course, the information the writer provides should be accurate and free of errors, and they should be able to interpret it.

 A few most common examples of technical writing include instruction manuals, user guides, and online courses. If you have read some, you may have noticed that they are using a particular style of writing and its format. However, the goal is always the same: to inform and educate the target audience and help them find the information about the products, services, or subject matters they seek.

Here are the Responsibilities of a Technical Writers

  • Developing end-user product documentation
  • Crafting technical documentation as necessary
  • Developing texts, graphics, and layouts of courseware
  • Editing, refining, and validating information associated with technical instructions
  • Crafting & maintaining style guides
  • Crafting user manuals and online help documents
  • Deliver translation-friendly documentations

The above responsibilities align with the domain aspects of technical communication and the purview activities of technical writers, editors, curriculum developers, technical publishers, and even system designers & developers.

The Technical Writing Process

Planning & Preparation

Project planning process begins when the technical document is requested. First, the request’s initial requirements are defined: document type, subject area/content, goal, scope, and audience.

Discussions and conversations with the client & SME are invaluable to ensure that you, as the author understand the project. This can help make the project clear and well-planned right from the start.

Understanding The Audience

To know whom you are writing for, you need to acquire as much information as possible about who will use the document. It is essential to know if your audience is an expert in the field, if they are entirely a layman, or if they lie somewhere down the middle.

The audience will also have their expectations and needs. Technical writers must determine what an audience is looking for when they begin to read the document. The reader’s goal will direct the entire writing process, as the purpose of any technical document is to meet the needs and requirements.

Developing The Structure

The structure serves as the skeletal framework of any technical document. Besides a logical flow, a structure must ensure cohesiveness and readability.

They must be malleable and flexible as you edit & evolve your content further. Technical writers often need to work with subject matter experts to determine the best possible structure, considering the topic, the document’s purpose, and the target audience.

Writing & Reviewing

Technical writing requires loads of reviewing. All these information gathered, the notes, diagrams, & statistics, etc., now need to be reproduced into readable, structured, engaging, & informative content. The more one plans and structures a document, the faster one will be able to write.

Technical writers follow specific simple rules while drafting their contentà 

  • They keep it simple.
  • Plain English works best.
  • Why, What, Who, When, Where, and How— they mention all such details clearly and craftily.
  • The Inverted Pyramid Content Style is a popular content style for technical subjects.
  • Impeccable grammar is a must.
  • Keep passive voices to a minimum.

Once the write-ups complete, writers work with technical experts to review the entire document & edit and polish everything to near perfection.

Writing quality technical documents will require writers to engage in many one-on-one discussions with a subject matter expert. Though the writer does all the heavy lifting, the SME offers the majority of the inputs and reviews accuracy, adherence to standards & other technical aspects.

We wrap up with a look at the critical skills of any technical writer. 

Requisite Skills for a Technical Writer

To succeed, a technical writer must possess specific pre-requisite skills and abilities.

Below is a quick overview of the essential skill set for every skills

1. Good Communication Skills

The first and foremost is a good command of English, & other relevant languages. All need to be well-versed in all the different techniques & linguistical aspects of writing in that particular language and, thereby, be able to understand & explain the complexities in simple, easy-to-follow terms.

Technical writing (or any writing, for that matter) communicates with individuals. This means that the writers should be experts in the identification and personalization of communication-based on the knowledge and understanding of their target audience.

Naturally, good command of the writing language is crucial to crafting top-notch technical documents. Technical writers must be able to write clearly & confidently, & stay focused on the primary purpose of a write-up.

Acute Technical Skills

A solid grasp of the subject & domain of a write-up is a must. Without proper technical knowledge & understanding, it simply won’t be possible to develop a cohesive & readable format.

Solid Research Skills

Substantial research & data gathering are vital for any technical writing endeavor. Writers may have to do a lot of library, online, market, and even surveys with the general public to gather crucial data.

A perfect blend of theoretical and evidential data can improve the credibility of a technical document immensely.

Excellent Writing Skills & Good Ability To Understand The Audience

Technical writers need to possess masterful writing skills. At the same time, they also must possess an intuitive ability to understand their target audience. The tone, the design & architecture, the structure, the vocabulary, the overall presentation, and graphic design—technical writers need to possess solid ideas about all such & more.

Well, that’s about it for this write-up.

Author-Bio: Liam Hayworth is a freelance technical writer and part-time academic writer. He frequently works with, a leading global paper writing help service.

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