Technical writing goes beyond relaying information. It's about crafting a seamless experience for the reader.
This article delves into the essential skills that every technical writer should possess, from mastering the fundamentals of grammar and style to adapting content for diverse audiences.
Communication is the core skill of a technical writer. Communication is made of written and verbal communication. Technical writers need written communication skills to convert complex information into easy-to-understand documentation.
Technical writers need verbal communication to communicate with immediate team members and stakeholders.
Technical writing is a job that needs cross-functional effort.
Documentation is written and maintained by a team of technical writers and members of other teams (such as content designers, software engineers, product managers, and more).
[...]A user guide can only be clear and make sense when its author knows how everything works. So, there’s always a lot of communication and inquiries about all sorts of things.[ClickHelp]
Documentation as Code
Documentation as code (also known as Docs as Code) is a process to create and publish documentation.
Documentation as code uses the same tools and processes in the software development lifecycle, with the main difference being documentation instead of code. These tools and processes are:
Git (Version Control).
Code Reviews (where another technical writer reviews your documentation before merging).
Issue Trackers (such as JIRA).
Documentation as code fosters a culture of ownership and collaboration.
Technical writers are user advocates and play a massive role in the success of a product. They understand what the audience needs and write directly for them. Technical writers know what information users need to make the most out of the product and use that information to create the documentation.
Technical writers spend a lot of their time researching. Researching includes:
Audience Analysis: this type of research helps the technical writer understand the target audience.
User Experience: this type of research helps the technical writer understand the readability of technical documentation.
Besides writing, technical writing involves a lot of editing. Editing includes:
Spelling and punctuation (although this step can be partially automated).
After reading this article, you've learned about essential technical writing skills.
If this article was helpful to you, consider subscribing to my FREE weekly newsletter, where I share more insights like this.