A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

Careers>Technical Writing

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1.
#10877

Advice about Technical Writing  (link broken)

Technical writing doesn't always mean 'computers.' Many companies hire technical writers to document policies and procedures for auditors. This means you would actually sit with someone and write down the steps they follow to do a function. Technical writers must be excellent communicators. Verbal and written skills must be of the highest caliber. A technical writer must be methodical, organized, and succinct.

Taylor, Vicki M. Suite101 (2001). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing

2.
#31111

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Be Like an Empty Cup

Technical writing is one of those jobs in which you're constantly learning. New tools, new techniques, new methodologies. No one knows it all. That's especially true for the new technical communicator. If you've graduated from a writing and rhetoric course or a technical writing course, you have a pretty good grounding in craft. But you're really only at the base of the mountain. There's still a lot to learn, and if you keep your eyes and ears and mind open then you can quickly pick up what you need to know.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

3.
#31106

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Hold on to Your Passion

Passion, though, is a funny thing. It's easy to become passionate about something. But the fire of that passion can also be easily dimmed or extinguished, often due to circumstances that are beyond your control. Throughout your career, you'll definitely find your passion waxing and waning. But holding on to that passion and nurturing it will make you a better technical communicator.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

4.
#31105

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Think Long-Term

So you've just started out as a technical communicator, or you've been on the job for a year or two. And you've decided that maybe, just maybe, technical communication is the career for you and you're in it for the long haul. Now what? Think about the future and how you want your career to develop.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing>Blogs

5.
#10089

Advice to Technical Writers

A friend asked the going rate for author's royalties on a technical or trade paperback, so I asked some people what they received. A few wrote back with extremely enlightening and fascinating comments. I passed these notes on to other authors, and received yet more interesting reading back. I have now edited all these comments down a bit, mostly taking out the names of authors and publishers and removing publisher specific comments.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Ray Tracing News (1996). Careers>Writing>Pricing>Technical Writing

6.
#35279

Are Daily Rates for Technical Writers Collapsing?

My concern for US writers is that they fail to grasp the momentum that counties like India have established and the high quality of university graduates they are now producing. In the next 10-15 years, IT jobs which can be replicated offshore/offsite to lower costs will be embraced more aggressively. US companies have little choice but to do this.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>Offshoring

7.
#19726

Are You a Technical Writer?  (link broken)

I started by saying that I wish to make everyone a technical writer. But I think I have taken the easy way out and am saying everyone is a technical writer. Welcome to technical writing!

Kamath, Gurudutt R. ITpeople (2000). Careers>TC>Writing>Technical Writing

8.
#24217

Are You Ready for Multimedia?  (link broken)   (PDF)

Lights! Action! Sound! There's a certain mystique associated with the design and development of multimedia. A multimedia developer is not quite a movie director, but.... If you're a technical writer, you may already have considered multimedia as a career option, but you may not know what's involved or how to get started. Having the information you need always makes a change easier, so perhaps this information will help you make that career move!

Currie, Cynthia C., Carmie Boutin and Linda Mandra. STC Proceedings (1999). Careers>Multimedia>Technical Writing

9.
#38018

Avoiding Burnout as a Technical Writer

One of the problems I’ve had to combat over the years has been boredom/burnout — that feeling you get either when you’ve been on the same project for too long or a you’re on new project that just feels like exactly what you’ve been working on for years. How do you breath life into work that you’ve done many, many times before?

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

10.
#19840

Avoiding the Drone Syndrome: How to Keep Your Technical Writing Job Interesting in an Age of Automated Publishing   (PDF)

Information development organizations are under increasing pressure to implement single-sourcing or other automated and highly structured document development processes. Forces driving this trend include translation requirements, niche marketing, the convergence of software and documentation, and shrinking cycle times and budgets. Initially, these changes threaten to remove everything that is challenging and interesting about the technical writer’s work. However, technical writers who successfully adapt to this new environment will find more opportunity than ever to use their analysis and writing skills and to develop additional negotiation and process management capabilities.

Guthrie, Melissa L. STC Proceedings (2000). Careers>Content Management>Single Sourcing>Technical Writing

11.
#22604

Be Word Perfect!

There has been a tremendous growth in the software industry and some growth in technical writing. Most of my columns ten years ago were rants about the poor state of our manuals and our software. Today, I think the humblest of companies is producing great stuff. The reason for it is simple--globalisation and the Internet.

Kamath, Gurudutt R. IT People (2002). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

12.
#31140

Becoming a Freelance Technical Writer  (link broken)

If you're considering a move to the contract side of the fence, you might want to think about the questions in this blog post before making a decision.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Freelance>Writing>Technical Writing

13.
#33169

Becoming a Technical Communicator

Thinking of a career in technical communication? This article offers one point of view on what you need to know to be successful in the field.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>TC>Technical Writing

14.
#10093

Becoming a Technical Writer in Three Easy Steps  (link broken)

If you are considering a career change, you should become familiar with the potential requirements and compensation. Knowing as much as you can about a profession can help you decide if it is appropriate for you. This book is intended for beginning and would-be technical writers.

Kolunovsky, Nina. STC Toronto (1996). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

15.
#36087

Best and Worst Jobs 2010

Technical writing ranks as the #13 best job in the U.S. in 2010, according to this study reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal, The (2010). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

16.
#37861

Best Careers 2011: Technical Writer

A DVR operating instruction manual. An assembly manual for a coffee table. A how-to guide for using the latest smart phone. What do all of these have in common? They are the results of the hard work of a technical writer. For those who are tech savvy and keep a copy of a MacBook instruction manual handy for their bedside reading, a career as a technical writer may be the right fit. Your job as a technical writer would be to translate difficult-to-understand information into layman's terms (think: operating instructions, how-to manuals, assembly instructions, and online help information). You may work in engineering, scientific, or healthcare fields, simplifying highly specialized information for the average Joe. Also, you'd work with computers and electronic publishing software, including graphic design, page layout, and multimedia software. Some technical writers who are self-employed or work for a technical consulting firm do freelance or contract work.

Newman, Rick. US News and World Report (2010). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

17.
#27320

Best Jobs in America 2006: Technical Writing

Money Magazine and Salary.com rate careers on salary and job prospects. Technical writing comes in as the thirteenth best career in America.

Money Magazine (2006). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

18.
#35296

Best Jobs in America 2009: Technical Writer

Technical writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, online help documentation, operating directions and maintenance instructions. Rank: 28th best job in America.

Money Magazine (2009). Careers>TC>Writing>Technical Writing

19.
#33695

The Black Art of Estimation

Estimating the amount of time it takes to write documentation is tricky as it relies on many differing, subtle, factors and, for many people working outside of a highly regimented and heavily project managed team, it tends to boil down to a mixture of guesswork and experience. However, it’s not impossible to come up with a more reasoned estimate as long as you don’t mind doing a little planning.

McLean, Gordon. One Man Writes (2009). Careers>Documentation>Technical Writing>Estimating

20.
#34157

Breaking into Freelance Writing

This article offers tips on breaking into the field of freelance writing—some from Alice Osborn herself, some from two of the books she recommends: "Secrets of a Freelance Writer" by Robert W. Bly; and "The Renegade Writer" by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell.

Wenger, Andrea. Carolina Communique (2009). Careers>Freelance>Writing>Technical Writing

21.
#23702

Breaking into Technical Writing  (link broken)

I'm not ashamed to admit it: the reason I became a technical writer is because 'Technical' comes after 'Teacher' in the help-wanted ads.

Johnson, Carol Siri. MetroVoice (2002). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

22.
#19678

Breaking the Sound Barrier   (PDF)

I love my job but don’t feel the managers think it’s important, partly because of the noise. I also sometimes feel that I’m just an ISO requirement. I’ve also heard from techs that customers don’t look at the manuals; they just put them on a shelf. Any thoughts?

Alroy, Faye. Intercom (2003). Careers>Workplace>Writing>Technical Writing

23.
#37489

Buy Yourself Time as a Lone Writer, Part 2

To be “making it as a lone writer“, you need time. Time to develop your skills, improve the documentation, reach out and network with other teams.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing

24.
#18295

California Labor Market Information System: Technical Writers

Technical Writers compose communication from product developers for users of the products. Users include consumers as well as scientists, engineers, plant executives, line workers, and production managers. Writers must write in a concise and easy-to-read manner for consumer publications or in highly specialized language for experts. With the increased use of desktop publishing, Technical Writers increasingly are responsible for the publication process including graphics, layout, and document design. Technical Writers create product instructions, reference and maintenance manuals, articles, project proposals, training materials, technical reports, catalogs, brochures, online documentation and help systems, Web pages, multimedia presentations, parts lists, assembly instructions, and sales promotion materials.

State of California (2002). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>California

25.
#37988

Career Advice for Technical Writers

For future job seekers: Always be prepared. In today’s day and age a layoff can happen to anyone, no matter how secure you may think your job is. That doesn’t mean you should walk around with a cloud of doom over your head but it does mean you should be aware and somewhat prepared if it does. Keep your resume up-to-date and make note of milestones and accomplishments in your current job.

Loring, Sheila. Carolina Communique (2011). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

 
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