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What is Technical Writing?

Posted by ClickHelp TeamClickHelp Teamin Technical Writing on 1/31/2018 — 2 minute read


Each of us makes many decisions that depend on technical information. Whether it’s about a new device, a software or some other piece of tech, or maybe a medical treatment – all these things are always accompanied by some sort of instruction. These instructions provide the end-users help on how to perform a particular task, deal with a problem, use the product safely, etc. All kinds of documents help people interact with technology and solve problems are examples of technical writing.

Technical writing is a key competence for anyone working in science, engineering and other technology-relevant spheres. These fields deal with different kinds of reports and pieces of documentation. This is where technical writers step up and do their job. But what is technical writing anyway?

Understanding Technical Writing

Technical writing belongs to the broad field of technical communication. Technical communicators include technical content developers, technical editors, technical proofreaders and other professionals. The word “technical” here is what matters. Unlike other writers and content creators, technical writers are like translators: they have a piece of technology and their task is to explain to a nonexpert how to use it in clear, accurate and easy-to-understand writing.

Unlike other sorts of writing, the goal of technical writing is to communicate complex information clearly and precisely for the audience and the purpose at hand. To make information clear and concise, the use of plain language is recommended.

There is a common misconception that technical writing is as simple as sitting down at a computer and writing. But in reality behind every documentation project is a lot of effort and complexity.

Who Does Technical Writing?

When technical writing was only taking roots, it was mostly engineers who wrote the documentation about how to use, maintain or repair particular products. As long as engineers are no writers, those manuals were bulky binders that were hard to read.

A woman typing on a laptop

The need for this kind of specialists grew, especially after WWII, when a lot of machines, weapons, medical equipment and other technologies were invented. Then in 1980 the U.S. Department of Justice announced technical writing a profession.

Today’s technical writers develop different kind of documentation. These include user manuals, product descriptions, project reports, white papers, information presentations, instructional texts and other sorts of writing. Technical documentation is being delivered as printed or/and online content. It often includes visuals, audio, animations, instructional videos and other aids.

What Industries Use Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a part of most careers. Can you imagine a field which doesn’t require any instructions, reports, procedures, or descriptions? For example, if you are a manager, then you write memos, personnel evaluations, all sorts of reports, and also most likely give presentations. Or if you are a medical professional, psychologist, or accountant, than you keep precise records which are also examples of technical writing.

Full-time technical writers work in a wide range of industries: software. E-commerce, networking, bioengineering, science, medicine, manufacturing, etc.

Ready to Start Technical Writing?

Technical writing skill is in high demand nowadays. It is not only a full-time position, but also is a part of many careers. In order to be competitive in your profession or in a field of technical communication you need to acquire particular skills such as plain writing. Or maybe we’ve inspired you to become a technical writer?

Good Luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

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