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Careers after B.E./B.Tech - Higher Education Opportunities

Careers & Specialisations - Technical Writing

When you purchase brand new handset or any electronic gadget, an attractive users manual comes with the package. As we all know we Indians rarely sift through manuals unless until we stumble upon any function. If you have any manual please go through it carefully to understand the philosophy behind the creation of the same. To make things simple technical writing helps to convey the complicated technical information that is supposed to be known by the user. The main feature of these manuals is to put you in the users shoes and preconceive the troubles and subsequent troubleshooters in a simple and lucid language. Though this constitutes as only one part of the technical writing jobs that are available in the market. Almost all software-developing firms need technical writers to write down user manuals of software products, help matters and other content. In America technical writing has developed as a full fledged profession. Contrary to this scenario in India it has to take formal shape yet. Many software companies are now walking up to the reality where need for the professionally groomed experts is felt. Few institutes have also come forward with training modules.

Skills Required :

  • Good command over English language- verbal and written.
  • Well versed with documentation software's like MS Word & Adobe frame maker.
  • Preferably technical background i.e. B.E. Comp / Electronics / Electrical / Mechanical with experience in creative writing.

Types of jobs :

  • Jobs in technical writing are full time as well as freelance. Full time vacancies are with professional agencies to which big software/electronic goods manufacturing firms are outsourcing the activity. Now a days software firms are directly recruiting technical writers. Do search job sites for updated information about technical writer vacancies.
  • If you wish to work freelance then you may require to register on any of the online technical writer communities or you can lookout for such jobs on the Internet.

Technical writers often work under titles that include phrases like Information Development, Technical Documentation, or Technical Publications. For example, in some organizations, Technical Writers may be called Information Developers, Documentation Specialist, Documentation Engineer, or Technical Content Developers. Technical writers explain complex ideas to technical and nontechnical audiences. This could mean telling a programmer how to use a software library, or telling a consumer how to operate a television remote.

Technical writers gather information from existing documentation, and from subject matter experts. A subject matter expert (SME) is any expert on the topic the writer is working on. Technical writers usually are not SMEs themselves unless they're writing about creating good technical documentation. Workers at many levels, and in many different fields, have a role in producing and distributing technical communications. A good technical writer needs strong language skills, and must understand the highly evolved conventions of modern technical communications. For technical documents to be useful, readers must understand and act on them without having to decode wordy and ambiguous prose. Precision in technical writing is critical. If something is described incorrectly, readers may act improperly, causing mistakes or even raising issues of liability.

The Society for Technical Communication is the largest technical writing association in USA. The STC defines technical communication as "The process of gathering information from experts and presenting it to an audience in a clear, easily understandable form." They add: "Technical writing and editing is an umbrella term for any sort of professional communication. It's the interface between your ideas and the rest of the world". The equivalent organisation in the UK is the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC).

Tools Used In Technical Writing:
  • Developing tools : FrameMaker, Microsoft Word and Interleaf.
  • Graphic tools : Corel Draw, PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro.
  • Help authoring tools : RoboHelp, Fore Help.
  • Web tools : Front Page, and Dream Weaver MX.

Technical writing is most often associated with online Help and user manuals; however, there are other forms of technical content created by technical writers, including: Alarm clearing procedures, Annunciator response procedures, Application programming interface programmers' guides Assembly instructions Business Guides Contracts Certification and accreditation activities Corporate Annual Reports Corporate disclaimers Developer Guides Feature Design documentation Getting Started cards or guides Maintenance & repair procedures Industrial film or video scripts Installation guides Magazine articles Network administrators' guides Network configuration guides Network recovery guides Policies and procedures Presentations Proposals Reference documents Release notes Reports Requirements documentation Scientific reports Site preparation guides Specifications Technical papers Training materials Troubleshooting guides Tutorials (Multimedia)

Payment :

You may have modest start with 10,000-15,000 per month which consequently grows with experience upto 35,000 p.m.
As a freelance technical writer you may earn on an hourly basis or sign a contract on project basis. However the figure you quote has to be realistic and supported by the industry facts. Normally in America hourly charging is done with $5 to $8 per hour. In India if you discount the figure it may come around Rs.200-350 per hour.

Training :

Currently 'Technowrites' a Pune based firm conducts training in technical writing.

Featured Institute: - Technowrites Pvt. Ltd.


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