Technical Writing Requirements

Technical Writing Requirements

A Lesson by Evin

Requirements for an entry level technical writing job


You may be wondering if you need an actual Technical Writing degree to become a tech writer. The answer to that question is no. I must add however, that generally most employers require a undergraduate degree of some sort, generally in English, Journalism or something along those lines. I can say after browsing many tech writing job listings, along with my years in the field, the most sought after requirements appear to be an undergraduate degree and good writing skills. I’ve been asked about the Technical Writing certificate. A certificate might be good to add to your resume if you are switching careers as it will show that you are serious however, it is NOT a requirement.

A technical aptitude helps as well. Some tech writing jobs are definitely more technical in nature than others. Some deal with hardware, some with software and more often than not in this day and age, a combination of both. Want to know if you have the needed aptitude? You can easily give yourself a small aptitude test. Find software you don’t know. Sit down in front of it, go through it and write out instructions for an end-user (your audience). You can do the same with hardware. Have a friend disassemble something for you and document the steps to put it back together. Test both of your guides out by having someone go through them to find out if they give sufficient instruction. If the guides give them what they need, then I’d say you probably have the aptitude to get your foot in the door. In the world of tech writing, you’ll be working with engineers and/or subject matter experts (SMEs) to assist you. Not only will they typically assist you in document creation, they will generally edit your technical content to ensure accuracy. They assist you with any questions along the way and are a great source of information.

Good people and communication skills are a MUST for this field. I cannot stress this enough. You will be conducting interviews with engineers, SMEs, program/product managers and clients (if you are freelance). Instances may even arise where you will interview end-users. You will need to be able to ask the right questions and effectively gather the information you need to communicate their information into your documentation. And of course, good communication skills are required for any writer.

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Added on September 24, 2012
Last Updated on September 24, 2012

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Portland, OR

I am a writer, a publisher and an instructor. I currently work as a book coach and assist writers through the publishing process (self or traditional). I also offer technical writing courses. I write ..