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    Career Option - Technical Writing
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    Introduction

    Technical writing or Technical communication is all about communicating an idea to particular readers in an easily understandable way. The field is gaining more importance in this current period of fast technological advancement. Companies need the help of a Technical writer or Technical communication professional, in order to translate or explain the technical usage of their products in simple language so that even a common man who could not understand the technical words and language could figure out the advantages or the operation of their products or services. In short, Technical writers specialise in writing technology for non technical persons.


    A technical writer writes reports that any technically oriented professional / expert/specialist do as part of their regular job. They write ‘how to use’ manuals, project reports, online help files, instruction and installation guides, make graphical presentations and brochures for products of various industries like IT, consumer products, medical , journals etc. A technical writer, who works with an engineer writes engineering and designing information for common people. Usually he or she has to help an user to understand a product and how to use it. For that, one should know the product and understand its technology well although he or she is not an expert in that. A technical writer develops an expertise in a particular technical area for which one is working for, and whatever he writes or says about the field, is termed as technical communication. 

    A technical writer should have an interest in science and technology. And he should also have researching skill as he has to collect information through books, internet and some times he needs to interview people who are the technological experts in the field. The technical writer should also possess good command over English and should know how to present a matter in an easily understandable manner. A technical writer can find work in various firms such as advertising agencies, IT companies, Newspapers and magazines etc

     If you have good command over English language and confidence that you can understand the technology and simplify the technical language to a user friendly one, then you can choose technical writing as your career. TWIN (Technical Writers of India) and Society for Technical Communication (STC), India are two online services that help Indian technical writers.

    Eligibility : There is no formal education in the field of technical communication. Degree (preferably post graduation) or diploma holders preferably in Journalism and mass communication, English literature, science or IT with good language skills can become a technical writer. Having computer literacy and knowledge of software applications will help candidates in this profession, especially in the IT sector. There are very few Indian universities/ institutes that offer certificate courses in technical writing as a mainstream. University-level courses in Technical Communication is offered by the Dept. of Mass Communication, Calicut University in Kerala as an optional paper in their Master of Communication and Journalism (MCJ) course and a short-term program is offered by Stella Maris College, Chennai. 

    But there are several foreign institutions which offer degree programs, certifications, and theory in the field. Besides these, many online courses are there which help one to become a technical writer. 

    Technical-writing courses are writing-intensive. A course in Technical Writing  teaches candidates the clear, concise and understandable way of writing, editing and proof reading a technical subject matter which is appropriate for a specific audience. It helps in developing skills needed to produce a technical report, using special format items like headings, lists, simple techniques for putting graphics into reports and special notices wherever needed. And such courses also help one to understand writing software tools like Microsoft word, PageMaker, Frame Maker, Rob help and Front page etc. But most technical writers learn on the job.

    Personal skills

    This is an interesting career for a creative writer, who can comprehend and communicate highly technical subjects in a way that even a non-specialist could understand. A very good skill in writing and speaking English language is a must for becoming a technical writer. He or she should have good research and communication skill because they have to gather information about the product using many medias like Internet, books etc. Some time they may have to interview people who are experts in the field to make a good write-up. Design skill, especially for multimedia presentations, is also a plus for this profession. Writers who think differently and have innovative ideas of presentation can excel in the job. A technical writer should familiar with the specified subject area apart from technically skilled or trained.

    Job Prospects and Career Options : Though there are no formal institutions in India to teach technical writing as a mainstream course, the job opportunities are rising in India. Today with the increase in outsourcing the field has seen an explosive rise in the global market as well. One who wish to take technical writing as a career could find jobs at various firms such as advertising agencies, soft ware developing companies, and even in Newspapers and magazines. The highest demand for technical writers is generated by the IT industry. If one does not want to work under an organization, he/ she can work as a freelance writer. Freelancers can take up work on a contract basis with companies for a period of time and will be paid for the work he does. As far as freelance writing has concerned freelancer should meet the dead line that the company puts forward and for that he needs a personal computer with internet connectivity that will help him in researching the materials and also help him to communicate with his payer.

    Companies need Technical writers for translating and making the technical language to simple language thus helping customers or potential customers understand the advantages or the operation of their new products or services, while newspapers and magazines ask for articles for specified areas like science and technology. The areas of applications of the field involve writing Technical Reports of not only technical specification of products but also include reports on organizational policies and procedures presenting rules and regulations that an organization and its members are expected to perform; evaluation and feasibility reports; primary research reports which presents findings and interpretation from laboratory or field research; Technical background report suited to a specific group of readers who has specific needs and uses for the information; Progress Report to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about progress made on a particular project over a  period of time; Business plans, a document used to start a new business or get funding for a business; User guide's containing instructions on installing, using, or troubleshooting a hardware or software product etc.

    Indian companies like TCS, Infosys Technologies Ltd, Sun Microsystems, InfoTech etc often call technical writers for their companies. Apart from that, online job sites also help to find jobs in this field.

    If one does not want to continue in this field he can diversify attention to advertising and journalism. 

    Renumeration : A junior technical writer can earn between Rs. 5000 and Rs.12000 per month depending on the company he works for, and the nature of work. An experienced writer/ editor may get up to Rs.15000 to 25000. A freelance writer gets paid as per the contract.


      
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