As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the requirement of technical writers and their diverse skill is anticipated to reach a new height of 10 percent from 2014 to 2024. With the increase of production or development of technical and scientific products and their complexities, the requirement of documentation to simplify or explain them through words also increased.  In this chapter, you will learn about the key roles, areas, and types of materials used by technical writers.

Work Practiced by Technical Writers

Technical writers need to understand the product or service or scientific design or system to convert into textual information or prepare its documentation. The text you will write must convey exact details and information (which will be specialized or scientific details) that will guide the reader on how to use that information to implement the system associated with that documentation. With the complexity of technicalities in any system or process, the documentation needs to be made simpler yet informative by the writers so that the end-user can make full use of it.

Areas of Technical Writing

Technical writing needs professional technical skills and an understanding of the domain (manufacturing, financial services, medical business, consultancy, engineering services, and products) for which he or she is writing. But it is also to be noted that the domains mentioned above do not bound technical writing; in the age where information plays a significant role, expressing any instruction clearly or any information vividly for the intended readers and audiences is the critical factor in technical writing.

You will find technical writers working in software firms, consulting companies, government organizations, online technical contents, broadcasting ventures, transportation corporations, academia, energy industries and factories, telecommunications industries, health care services, security companies, publishing houses, and the list will go on. But, technical writing can vary based on the optics one write.

Types of Materials Produced in Technical Writing

Materials created in technical writing are of four essential types. These are:

  • Self-instructional materials: In this type of documentation, self-instructional materials are written to be self-understanding and explanatory for a solo person to understand and use it. This type of writing materials can be divided into subsection:
    • You have to explain in a stepwise manner with answers of "how-to" such as how to open anything or install anything or start anything?
    • The second section will deal with little in-depth information that solves specific questions, queries, or answers that need to be made based on experimentation.
    • Lastly, when the basic needs and requirements are fulfilled, additional information associated with it or based on relevant, informative grounds must be added to the document.
  • Group instructional materials: There are documents and contents which need to be explained or written for groups. Examples of such documentation are - Scripts, workshop resources, training materials, and leaflets for any seminar or guest lecture.
  • Essential materials: This is slightly different from self-instructional or group instructional materials. Here, your target audience may be a solo person or a group of people, and detailing in a stepwise manner is essential here, such as quick-start, explanations, demonstrations, samples, practice (optional), case studies, and summary (optional).
  • Professionally produced tutorials: The entire documentation or series of chapters revolves around various sub-domains of one particular topic or subject.

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