The field of technical writing has seen a surge in demand for workers, and this is only expected to increase. There has been recent talk of technical writers becoming the next “IT” Professionals as they work with people who are trying to make lives easier through technology.
This article will highlight the things you need to learn on how to become a technical writer with no experience.
What does a technical writer do?
Before you start looking for a job, it is important to know what technical writing is. Technical writers are responsible for writing manuals, tutorials, and other documents that explain how to use products or services. They also create marketing materials that help customers understand how their products work and why they should buy them.
How to get into technical writing
If you are looking for an entry-level job as a technical writer and are not sure where to start your search, these tips on how to become a technical writer will help get you started.
- Earn a degree
There are no specific technical writer degrees, however, candidates in this field often hold a degree in a technical area such as; engineering, information technology, or computer science. As a general rule, most employers often prefer candidates who have a degree in English, journalism, or its related field, and at least two years of experience as an editor/writer.
Begin your career by earning a degree in any of the above fields.
- Take a writing class or two
In addition to learning the technical aspects of writing, you will also learn some of the fundamentals of good communication and business skills. This will help you land your first job as well as build experience for future jobs. Consider taking an online course that offers certification programs in technical communication. Fortunately, some of these training programs also provide job placement services to outstanding students after graduation.
- Get your portfolio together
The next step to becoming a technical writer is having a portfolio. A portfolio is simply a collection of samples of your writing and editing work. The importance of this cannot be understated: It shows potential employers that you have the skills needed for the job and can do it well. If you do not know how to create a portfolio, check out templates and samples on Google.
- Contribute to some open-source projects
Open-source projects are a great way to learn about technical writing. If you have some experience in programming and can get up to speed quickly, then contributing to an open-source project may be right up your alley.
You can contribute to a continuous integration service that runs automated tests on a code before it is deployed into production. As part of your contribution, consider writing several tutorials on how to code or fix bugs within the system.
- Read technical writing blogs
One of the most important things you can do to become a technical writer is read. You are going to want to find some niche areas where you can go digging for information that will help you excel in your new career as a technical writer. Technical writing blogs can be a great way to learn about the industry and get a feel for what employers are looking for in a writer. Some of these blogs will focus on specific tools or techniques, which is great for you.
- Volunteer as a technical writer
Volunteering is an excellent way to gain technical writing experience and build your portfolio. Volunteer work can be done in your spare time.
- Work in customer service or technical support
If you are looking to work as a technical writer, it is important to know how to communicate with customers. This includes learning how to communicate with management, as well as other departments such as marketing and sales.
- Hone your skills in your spare time
You can hone your skills in your spare time. Read more books, and improve your grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Practice writing in different styles to see which one works best for you. Consistently write technical documents such as manuals or user guides so that when the opportunity arises to be hired as an editor/writer at a tech company—you will be ready.
- Apply to writing jobs with no experience in the field
If your resume does not include any experience in technical writing, then you should apply for writing jobs that do not require any previous experience.
Technical writers are needed more than ever but getting that first job can be difficult as you have to convince employers that you can write, despite not having any experience doing so in the workplace. The above tips will help guide you in your journey to becoming a technical writer.