6 Point Checklist To Cover Before You Seek Out Your Next Job As A Technical Writer

In an increasingly technology-driven world, Technical writing can be regarded as one of the more valuable skills in the market. And rightly so, because it stands for much more than just understanding technical information and recording it in a document. 

It can be fairly stated that the art of Technical writing takes high-level information and breaks it down into digestible chunks of content for a niche target audience. And needless to say that such a skill is crucial for professionals in tech-related businesses, or for engineers and scientists trying to mainstream their knowledge, or for people simply looking for full-time roles as technical writers.

The job description will usually demand communication about technical or specialized topics, such as medical procedures, environmental regulations, and/or computer applications. Broadly put, technical writers present information and facts in a way so that the reader can use the technical knowledge to supplement their technical acumen for any intended purpose.

Therefore, the question naturally arises as to what does a technical writer do or possesses in order to meet the prerequisites of this market. Some of the best practices needed to launch your professional technical writing career are mentioned herewith.

Legible Writing

The widespread definition of 'plain language' is a type of communication where the wording and sentence structure is so clear that the target audience can effortlessly find what they need, understand what they find, and be able to effectively use that information.

This core competency should logically be the topmost priority for any technical writing aspirant looking to make it big. As has been stated previously, the main purpose of the profession is to help even the most untouched users grasp the main idea easily. And this can only be achieved by avoiding complex sentence structure by overloading jargon.

Using fewer words or more basic versions of words to explain complicated concepts while maintaining the same meaning will make the document more accessible and increase the writer's chances of landing any job role.

Visual Formatting

Visually appealing text segments resonate more with any willing reader. And while the soul of a technical document is its long-form text, even the clearest instructions can be lost in a document suffering from a subpar visual representation.

Thoughtful formatting, insightful templates, and images/diagrams can result in an easy-to-read document while also making it look clean and professional. Due care should be taken to include a table of contents, sections, and the inclusion of appendices to best structure the information, especially when it comes to larger documents.

And the age-old adage of 'A picture speaks a thousand words' rings true even in the realm of technical writing. Rather than having the reader fight through a wall of text, a well-placed image or diagram can assist the writer’s explanation and make the reader's job easier. 

Writing Qualifications

While technical writing is a skill acquired over time, any technical writing certification from reputed institutes certainly goes a long way. This practice falls under the traditional method of buffing up your resume for future opportunities and an increase in pay scale. 

However, in most cases, all companies are not necessarily looking for a technical writing background. Even a degree in Applied Linguistics and Translation can form a solid basis to start.

Nevertheless, bonafide certifications can always compensate for a lack of work experience and/or industry exposure.

Penchant for Technology

Technical writing is often required in industries like Information technology, engineering, medicine, aerospace, and so on. And despite the fact that it is not possible to possess a degree in all fields, writers should be able to understand how a specific tool or device works in order to describe its features correctly.

This is often driven by a natural liking for the inner mechanisms of any technical system. Only when the technical writer has thoroughly understood the ins-and-outs of particular machinery or code can he then proceed to explain it in layman terms.

As is the case with everything in life, passion will make things easier in the long run. Writing will come naturally and words will flow effortlessly if you have that innate willingness to unravel technological myths.

Adaptive Upgrades

The easiest way to stay updated is by scanning through the web for the latest upgrades and technologies. Reading books and taking technical writing courses are other alternatives worth following. 

If a technical writer applies for a job position, he/she is expected to be open to upgrading their skills constantly as technology is developed and stay relevant. Such an adaptive mindset will equip the writer with new trends in this sphere, improve knowledge, and bring new ideas for future projects.

More often than not, technical writers also take part in usability testing and validating documentation, so as to affirm that the product functions as has been documented.

Proofreading Skills

The most obvious skill is often the most overlooked. Good writing of any type is naturally expected to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. As already stated, it sounds obvious but is not always easy, especially with lengthy documents.

Recent advancements in technology have resulted in a number of software tools that can assist in your grammatical review, and running your text through such programs to double-check your text’s correctness can be really helpful.

But traditionality demands that going through your document manually line-by-line remains unbeatable. In part, this is needed because automated software cannot grasp all contexts or inconsistencies, and reading certain challenging passages aloud tests if they are easily accessible or hard to swallow.

Once the text has been refined for linguistic correctness, check for the technical soundness of the document. This completes a comprehensive review.


An added perk of being a Technical writer is that you automatically become a lifelong learner. Since you're expected to communicate the content, it is imperative that you must be (or become) well-versed in that field. This, in turn, means that with each new technical document published, you will become an expert on that subject.

Technical writing also demands constant communication with developers, designers, SMEs, to learn more about a product. And possessing such soft skills will ensure that you thrive in this social career path.

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