My First Three Months As A Technical Writer
This year I quit software engineering to go into technical writing full-time.
This article will describe my first three months as a technical writer.
Communication is key
Communication is one of a technical writer's strengths.
Communication is not just how you communicate technical information to your user.
Communication is also:
How you communicate with members of your team.
How you communicate with colleagues outside of your immediate team.
How to make a request to get the desired outcome.
How to communicate in a way that is direct and kind simultaneously.
Stakeholder management is a skill
Stakeholder management is the process of maintaining good relationships with the people who have most impact on your work.[MindTools]
A stakeholder is anyone who can be affected by the outcome of a project.
In a software project, stakeholders are usually product managers, project managers, and directors.
Stakeholder management involves:
Identifying the strategy to communicate with stakeholders.
Recognizing the influence a stakeholder has on a project.
Following the stakeholder's strategy.
User experience is a skill
Everything that involves people interacting with something is a part of the user experience.[Technical Writing as a Part of User Experience]
Technical writers are critical to a product's success. As a technical writer, it's essential to acknowledge what the users need to understand and use, document, and write about a product.
You're constantly learning
Software engineers constantly learn, and so do technical writers.
Technical writers learn something new every day.
You learn the company's style guide, the company's products, the technology behind the products, etc.
Writing is 20% of the job
Although "writing" is part of the job title, technical writing also involves:
Editing and proofreading.
Reading and researching.
Managing and planning meetings.
Cross-functional collaboration is part of the job
Technical writing can be perceived as a lonely job, but I find this to be far from the truth.
Technical writing involves a lot of cross-functional collaboration with other colleagues, engineers, product managers, and UX designers.
Technical writers seek help from various teams to produce compelling documentation.
Technical writers need multiple and different perspectives to create documentation that users will find easy to read.
My first three months as a technical writer have been full of learning. I do not regret making the transition.
Technical writing is a job that develops your communication skill and teaches you how to build relationships with other people.
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Until next time!