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Getting Started with Technical Writing

Getting Started with Technical Writing

Though primarily concerned with sharing technical knowledge and experience to help others, technical writing also helps to reinforce your knowledge on the topic you're writing about while still demonstrating your technical ability and level of talent.

In this talk, I explain the concept of technical writing, the skills you need to become a technical writer, how to get started, and career opportunities for technical writers.

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Edidiong Asikpo

February 20, 2021
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Transcript

  1. Getting Started with Technical Writing

  2. Hello! I am Edidiong Asikpo. A developer advocate and technical

    writer.
  3. What is technical writing? Technical writing is a type of

    writing where the author is writing about a particular subject that requires direction, instruction, or explanation. It is an efficient and clear way of explaining something and how it works.
  4. The myth about writers

  5. None
  6. What are the skills a technical writershould have? 🔑 Writing

    🔑 Audience Perception 🔑 Technical Skill 🔑 Research 🔑 A Unique Voice
  7. Writing The first and most important skill every technical writer

    needs is writing. Don’t be confused about the two terms because writing and technical writing are quite different. 7
  8. Writing Simply put, writing is when I put down my

    thoughts, but technical writing is not just about putting down my thoughts but also explaining those thoughts the reasons behind those thoughts in a logical and technical manner. Therefore, you must first understand how to write before going ahead to explain that topic or concept in a clear and technical manner. 8
  9. Audience perception Knowing how to write is not enough to

    be a technical writer. Another important skill technical writers need is the ability to know their target audience and also write in a way that the audience will understand. 9
  10. 🔑 What do they need? 🔑 Where will they be

    reading? 🔑 When will they be reading? 🔑 Why will they be reading? 🔑 How will they be reading?
  11. Technical Skill The goal of a technical writer is to

    enable readers to understand a highly complex process or concept clearly. For this to be achieved, technical writers need to be well familiarized with that topic or skill they are about to write on. 11
  12. “If you can't explain it to a six year old,

    you don't understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein
  13. Research The importance of understanding how to carry research as

    a technical writer cannot be overemphasized. You need to focus on researching andlearning everything there is to know about the product you’re writing for andthen explaining it to your target audience in the most coherent waypossible. Simply put, Google the hell out of things. 13
  14. A Unique Voice Writing is a great way to digest

    and process the information we take in and most times, people tend to plagiarize some of the information they take inby literally using the same words from anotherauthor. This isn’t bad when you give that author credit, but most times writers don’t give the original writers credit for their work and that is completely wrong.To avoid this, find your own voice because you are unique. 14
  15. So how can you get started? 📖 Take a technical

    writing course. 📖 Read. 📖 Start writing. 📖 Stay consistent.
  16. Take a course on technical writing Technical writing is an

    in-demand skill and employers are looking out for the very best writers to hire. There are so many things that you may not know are important except you take a course on technical writing. The authors of most of these courses have been writing for 10 to 20 years and have discovered really important tips. There was definitely a huge difference in the way Iwrote after I took a Technical Writing course by Google. 16
  17. Read Reading other people’s work helps you find words you

    never knew aboutand also understand how the world acceptswriting. When you see good documentation or article, you get inspired by thatwork and implement some of the things you saw there on your work aswell. 17
  18. “Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like

    a river.” ― Lisa See.
  19. Write After you’ve taken a technical writing course and read

    a couple of articles, the next and most important thing to do is to start WRITING. 19
  20. “You learn to write by writing.” ― Jean M. Auel

  21. After writing your first draft, read your content out loud

    while assuming you are the reader Learn to follow a style guide when writing. It helps you stay on track andfollow the best writing principles. Make your paragraphs support a single idea. Don’t cram everything withinone paragraph. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication so always use simpler words and remove every unnecessary word. Tips for Writing 📖 📖 📖 📖
  22. Edit that first draft only when you are focused. I

    recommend you step away from it for a few hours, get back to it, and then edit. Your first draft can be cut down by 40 to 50 percent without losing the main content of the message you wanted to pass. Proofread the article again. Publish it. Seek feedback by consulting with experts in the field you are writing about because no technical writer knows every technical detail. Tips for Writing 📖 📖 📖 📖
  23. Stay Consistent The only way to get better at writing

    is by writing consistently. The rapid improvement of your writing skill if you stay consistent will shock you and the entire world. So don’t just start this journey as a writer. Try to stay consistent as well. 23
  24. Career Opportunities Technical writing is a prized and profitable skill.

    It is a valuable title whether you are interested in making a career shift or adding this ability to your current role. Remember, any employee who can convey technical information at work is very valuable to a company. According to Glassdoor, technical writers make between 40,000$ to 80,000$ annually. Some companies pay between 100$ to 500$ per article you write. Find a list of those paid community writing programs here. Google started a Season of Docs program to connect technical writers to open source organizations because they realized the importance of good documentation in how developers choose and use open source. Technical writers get paid 3000$ to participate in this program. You can read about the application process here. 24
  25. Conclusion Technical writers have the great benefit of becoming lifelong

    learners because they need to be well-versed in that field, they are writing about in order to communicate the content clearly to readers.
  26. “I believe that a good writer doesn’t really need to

    be told anything except to keep at it.” — Chinua Achebe
  27. Thanks! Any questions? Blog edidiongasikpo.com Twitter @didicodes