Technical Writing: Meaning, Types, Characteristics, & Salary

technical writing
Image source: Grammar | Your Dictionary

It is vital for specialists ranging from doctors and engineers to chemists to communicate complicated topics to regular customers or professionals with less knowledge. This act of making complex material more accessible in the form of reports, product descriptions, or instruction manuals for business purposes is referred to as technical writing. Learning more about this communication style will assist you in pursuing a career that matches your interests and developing the necessary abilities. In this post, we;ll define technical writing, explain the types and characteristics, and outline the stages to pursue a career in this sector.

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a type of communication used by specialists to communicate information about specialized topics. A technical writer may generate text to provide instructions or to clarify technical topics pertaining to environmental rules, computer programs, or medical procedures. The following are some of the most prevalent industries that rely on technical writing:

  • Engineering
  • Hardware and software for computers
  • Robotics
  • Chemistry
  • Finance
  • Electronics for the general public
  • Forestry
  • Aeronautics
  • Medical and healthcare services
  • Biotechnology
  • Technical writing examples

Here are a few notable instances of technical writing:

  • Instruction manuals
  • E-learning materials
  • Specifications for the product
  • Product specifications
  • Reports
  • Publications in the press
  • Proposals for business
  • Job descriptions
  • Textbooks

A technical writer may be writing for a certain industry, in which case the language is tailored to the audience’s educational level. However, a technical writer may occasionally write for a general audience. Many of the data offered by technical writers are complex, so the writing process include assessing the information and presenting it in a way that anyone reading it can understand, even if they have no experience with the area.

What is Technical Writing In Business?

Technical writing refers to any type of writing that is required in business, technology, emergency manuals, and so on. In summary, technical writing examples are any lab reports or research articles that appear in a manual that describes “how to get things done.” In the professional industry, business writing is used to create and deliver customer proposals, presentations, reports, memos, and emails.

Technical business writing should have the following elements:

  • Clear, specific, and to the point.
  • Action-oriented.
  • Must be efficient.
  • Extremely audience-specific.
  • Precise

Types of Technical Writing

Types of technical writing range from detail-oriented technical reports to extensively researched white papers and include a wide range of sectors and procedures. 

Furthermore, this form of content is so frequent that we all come across various types of technical documentation at various stages of our lives and careers. 

It’s a vast field with innumerable sub-niches of its own. However, for the sake of clarity, the following are the most common types of technical writing that you can pursue as a career. 

#1. Medicine and Science Papers

Medical and scientific technical writing is under the purview of traditional technical writing. 

This was the first instance of changing technical information to make it understandable for a certain audience. 

This approach is used by researchers to analyze their findings, arrange and condense them into interesting writing, and publish it in a variety of journals, newsletters, and online platforms. 

The following skills are required for medico-scientific papers:

  • Exceptional attention to detail, particularly when dissecting high-value experiments and findings.
  • A high level of precision when inputting names, dates, citations, and so on.
  • Effective organizational skills, particularly when putting raw data into a user-friendly content form.
  • A talent for authority and trustworthiness that serves academics well in general.

#2. User Manuals and Help Guides

User manuals are a type of technical writing that even non-technical professionals come across. 

This kind seeks to address particular usage-related issues for consumer items in order to improve the overall end-user experience.

User help manuals entail breaking down the product into its constituent parts, describing how each portion works, and addressing questions regarding the solutions for each item. Furthermore, it entails answering questions as customers use the product for an extended period of time. 

The following are common skill requirements for technical writing of user guides:

  • Knowledge of how to organize instruction manuals into phases and sections based on how the product operates is required.
  • A talent for producing solution-oriented information that precisely describes how to tackle a given problem
  • Complete comprehension of each product
  • A straightforward, no-frills style with clear and concise principles and little fluff or filler stuff.

Product manual and repair manual writers can find work with a variety of enterprises, ranging from copywriting services to production corporations. However, because technical writing is a rather confined profession, search for a company that offers progressive advancement when applying for a position in this genre. 

#3. Technical Writers’ Books and Guides

Because of the length of the content, its conceptual character, and the amount of depth they go into, writing technical books and long-form manuals differs from the previous type.

This style of writing goes beyond the scope of a simple user guide. It discusses the aims and purpose of the product (often software).

Surprisingly, even if they are more detailed, technical books must be written in such a way that any user may understand them.

The following skills are required for writing this type of technical writing:

  • The ability to convert complex, jargon-filled information into simple, instructive content
  • Complete comprehension of the appropriate formatting, organization, pacing, and duration for these technical publications
  • Understanding of when and how to use visual aids like graphs, photos, and tables to make content more engaging.
  • Experience writing long-form articles on a number of topics

These books can also serve as troubleshooting manuals for software programs. In this job, they must account for all potential difficulties that the program may encounter and give solutions to each one.

#4. Manuals for Assembly 

Assembly and repair manuals are another niche form of technical writing that is perhaps the most common in a company’s mechanical maintenance department.

This is due to the technical knowledge necessary to comprehend the disassembly and reassembly of a certain machine or piece of equipment. Most general maintenance manuals include installation manuals for many types of machinery.

Assembly manuals differ from other forms of technical communication in that most (if not all) employers expect you to be able to disassemble. 

The following skills are required for assembly manuals and guides:

  • A theoretical and practical understanding of the associated equipment and repair processes
  • Working knowledge of and experience with machinery of a similar type or function
  • Research ability (finding better, more efficient disassembly and repair techniques)
  • Extensive knowledge of how manufacturing lines work and how to keep the machinery running at peak performance.

While most firms prefer technicians with writing skills, some accept career writers who are eager to learn about procedures.

#5. Technical reports, reviews, and documents

Reviews and reports for stakeholder meetings, proposals, and business pitches are part of corporate content creation. 

It’s yet another adaptable format that combines academic reporting with technical research-based guides. Reports are technical publications that describe the process and results of any investigation, whether scientific or business-related.

Feasibility reports, primary research reports, business plans and prospectuses, short-form proposals, press releases, case studies, and so on are all examples of technical reports. 

The following skills are required for assembly manuals and guides:

  • High-level comprehension of the process under consideration, as well as how similar processes proceed through time
  • Complete understanding of the product, as well as previous, current, and anticipated future operations
  • The ability to speak in a business-savvy manner while maintaining appropriate technical knowledge of the material
  • Excellent command of the English language, with a focus on expressing a corporate message.

Technical reports are critical components of business operations. In most circumstances, this makes the work quite well-paying. 

Technical Writing Characteristics

The following characteristics must be present in effective technical writing.

#1. Simple to read and understandable

The writer should say exactly what he means and say it clearly so that it is not misconstrued.

A technical report must be intelligible to the intended readers or audience. Adequate language, as well as current technical terms in the field, should be employed. Clarity can be improved by using suitable syntax and writing style.

#2. Well-structured and organized

The technical report must be adequately planned and ordered. If the author is unable to correctly organize and sequence his material, it may result in total confusion and lack of clarity.

#3. Applying commonly used technical words in the field

Technical terminology that are commonly used in the field should be utilized in technical writing.

If the technical report is meant for readers who are unfamiliar with the specialist terms, the terms should be explained in a footnote.

The author should never presume that the audience is aware of everything.

#4. Use of a suitable language

The technical report’s wording should be straightforward and to the point.

Avoid using difficult words, cliches, or jargon. Grammar, punctuation, and syntax should be correct and well-maintained.

A textbook is an excellent example of a technical report. Textbooks include all of the necessary knowledge up to a certain level. A text book intended for graduate students may be quite different from one intended for research purposes. A research purpose book may provide a comprehensive review of scientific work done in that topic. Such advanced-knowledge instruction books may aid in the exploration of new technological frontiers.

If the technical writing is for a product promotion brochure, it should be succinct and precise. At the same time, it must not overlook important facts. Precision and brevity are essential in such situations.

#5. Motivated by action

The primary goal of excellent technical writing is to explain the net conclusions of the investigation, research, or analysis conducted in the current situation. Also, how these net discoveries were made and how to apply them.

#6. Realistic and founded on facts

Technical writing must always be founded on the truth and only the truth. In any case, a technical report should never contain misleading information.

#7. It must be useful for the reason for which it was written.

A technical report that is effective must serve the audience for whom it is written. 

Salary of a Technical Writer in the United States

In the United States, the typical salary for a technical writer is $36.16 per hour, with a $1,800 cash bonus per year.

How to Become a Technical Writer

Here’s how to get started as a technical writer:

#1. Acquire education.

The majority of technical writing jobs demand at least a bachelor’s degree. Those interested in this career should take courses in technical disciplines such as the sciences, engineering, and medicine, as well as writing and communication courses. When applying for positions, technical writers are frequently required to present writing examples to demonstrate their ability in this style of writing as well as their understanding of specific subjects. Maintaining a portfolio of samples is beneficial, especially for individuals who desire to work as freelance technical writers. 

#2. Develop relevant abilities

Along with a degree, you must develop the abilities required to be a good technical writer. These include understanding of the industry, communication, writing, and other technical experience. Technical writers must be good communicators and writers.

Good computer abilities enable you to generate and modify diagrams, graphics, and documents using a variety of software tools. A technical writer must also have great proofreading and editing skills in order to deliver documents that are free of style and grammatical problems. Furthermore, technical writers use tables, diagrams, charts, pictures, illustrations, and drawings more effectively and clearly.

#3. Study style guides.

It’s also a good idea to learn all of the major style guides, such as the MLA Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, APA Style, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style. Although many firms and clientele have their own criteria, IEEE is the most often used style in technical publications, particularly in the engineering industry. Consider focusing completely on that style guide and the company’s specific requirements if you operate in a specialized area.

#4. Obtain certification

Technical writers can also become certified through a process. There are three main certification options:

Technical Communicators Society

The Society for Technical Communicators offers a three-tiered certification program. Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert are the three levels. Each level necessitates passing a more demanding and challenging exam than the one before it. You may have an advantage over other technical writers who have not finished the certification process if you obtain a certification from this society.

Association of American Medical Writers

If you want to work as a technical writer in the medical area, you’ll most likely need to learn how to write about particular instruments and processes available solely in healthcare. If you want to pursue this field, the American Medical Writers Association’s medical writer credential is a suitable alternative. To become certified, you must have at least two years of experience in medical communications and a bachelor’s degree. To keep your certification current, you must take continuing education courses throughout your employment.

National Science Writers Association

Technical writers are in particularly high demand in the sciences. Certification from the National Association of Science Writers will help you demonstrate scientific understanding as well as great writing skills. When applying for this accreditation, you must submit five pieces written during the last five years, as well as two recommendations from existing association members.

#5. Choose where you want to work.

A technical writer may work as a freelancer or contract worker, or they may find full-time employment with software or hardware companies, engineering firms, construction firms, chemical processing firms, defense firms, and other related enterprises. Understanding the area and what it entails is a vital first step in determining whether it is what you want to do for a living. Talk to technical writers about their everyday activities, or read technical articles such as customer support content and professional manuals.

#6. Create a portfolio.

When applying for a technical writing position, you must provide proof of your abilities. If you’re a beginning writer, you can work on technical publications on your own to build your portfolio. You can obtain extra experience by looking for internships and freelance writing opportunities while pursuing your bachelor’s degree.

#7. Create a network.

Begin by checking through your existing professional network to see whether you know someone in technical writing. Connecting with others might help you uncover career prospects and join clubs that specialize in technical writing. You may also wish to attend comparable conferences and events in your area to expand your contact network.

What Are the Basics of Technical Writing?

Quality content, audience and purpose, accessibility, grammar, and writing style are the fundamentals of technical writing.

What Are the Five Types Of Writing?

  • Expository writing.
  • Descriptive writing.
  • Narrative writing.
  • Persuasive writing.
  • Journal and letter writing

What Are The Three Cs of Technical Writing?

The three Cs of technical writing are: clarity, conciseness, and consistency.

What Are The 4 Phases of Technical Writing?

Prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing are the four stages of technical writing.

In Conclusion,

According to the BLS, the majority of technical writers earn more than six figures a year. When technical writers earn these sums, they have one of the highest-paying positions in the writing and media industries. Technical writers are badly needed to make communications explicit, and technical writers can work on a variety of projects to develop a technical paper or technical documentation.

Find out where your technical marketing communication talents are, what technical documentation skills firms value, and apply for jobs accordingly to ensure you go above and beyond in your career. 

  1. The Top Must-Have TECHNICAL SKILLS FOR RESUME With Examples
  2. PRODUCT MANAGER SKILLS: Top Product Manager Skills
  3. Program Management: What Is It, Job Role, Salary & Difference.
  4. WHO IS A FREELANCE WRITER: Job Description, Salary & Online Jobs


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like