For almost the entirety of your schooling, there was always this one common section in your English exam that you had to write – Essay writing. A topic or a list of topics were given, and you were asked to write an essay, which is essentially a group of paragraphs on it.
But little did you know that this skill of essay writing that you had practiced year after year in your school will come in handy someday. Maybe not on the scale of essay writing, but nowadays, there are numerous job opportunities available in the technical writing field.
What is Technical Writing?
Having read thus far, you might be wondering, “what does a technical writer do?” A technical writer writes about a particular topic or subject in which he explains and explores almost every avenue in that topic.
These topics, on most occasions, require detailed explanation or might even contain instructions so that the reader can thoroughly understand the subject.
Let’s take an example to better understand this. Any product or device that you buy from a store comes with a user manual. This manual explains all the features of the device and also the correct procedure for using it.
The entire process of setting up or using your new device becomes easier when you follow the detailed instructions and steps that are given in the manual. Here, the author of that manual is called a “technical writer,” and that user manual is a product of “technical writing.”
Who Can Become a Technical Writer?
Anybody with an interest in writing and sound knowledge in the language can become a technical writer. The language does not necessarily have to be English alone.
Remember those manuals that we discussed above? Those don’t come in English only. There are always other languages in those manuals in which the same detailed instructions are presented.
However, the most important part of technical writing is your sentence structure, as well as your grammar. Your vocabulary does not have to be of a high level. Rather simple words must be used because at the end of the day, your only goal is to make your content understandable to the readers.
But if almost everyone can become a technical writer, then what can you do to stand apart from the crowd? For this, many writing certification courses are available that can add to your credits.
How to Choose a Writing Certification Course?
You might want to become a technical writer to aid yourself financially or to take it up as a hobby. But whatever may be the reason you do not want to waste your money and time on courses that might not be beneficial for you.
When it comes to adding to your credits and gaining knowledge and skills that you can benefit from, in the long run, it becomes very important to choose the right technical writing certification course.
But before diving into the how part of this, there is one crucial thing that you must identify and analyze about yourself. Now that you know what a technical writer does, you must find out what areas you can improve in or what skills you lack.
If you have heard of the famous SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, then this is what you should do. Only if you know this you can effectively select a proper certification course through which you can learn and refine your skills.
Once you have identified that, here are a few key points that you must remember while choosing a technical writing certification course.
1. Course Content
All your homework up to this point will go to waste if you end up choosing a course that doesn’t help you in enhancing your abilities. Therefore, go through the content that the course has to offer and ask yourself whether it is of good quality and if it will eventually be beneficial for you.
After this, if you are satisfied, then go to the next step.
2. Course Mentor
Generally, all the courses give out information about the course mentor or teacher. But the world is such today that anybody can go online and become a teacher. Hence, read the information given about the mentor in detail and don’t hesitate to ask them for extra professional information if required.
Also, ensure that your mentor is a technical writer and has enough experience in the field of technical writing.
3. Course Format
There are different types of formats through which courses are offered. A few of them being;
- A series of lectures that are recorded and uploaded so that you can study from them at your own leisure time. Even in this, two subcategories are present;
- Without any activities or exercises
- With activities, exercises, mentor feedback as well as peer feedback
- An interactive format wherein you can directly communicate with your mentor. Just like the previous one, there are two subcategories over here;
- Lectures and exercises performed on an online platform
- Lectures and exercises that are conducted offline, at a particular venue
Each of the above-mentioned formats has its own pros and cons. If you are constrained by time, then you might want to choose the former, but if you want to gain hands-on experience and have instant interactions with your mentor, then you might want to choose the latter.
Depending on the circumstances, you must make the right decision that will eventually help you in the future.
4. Course Cost
This again depends on the type of course that you select, but one thing is for sure that comprehensive research must be done in all the previously mentioned steps to properly land onto the right technical writing certification course.
There is a huge demand for technical writers who are diligent in their work and efficiently complete the job. Even in the future, no matter how advanced the technology gets, there will always be a constant need for technical writers because there has to be someone to explain that technology in a structured way, right?
So add to your knowledge and experience by doing a certified writing course and seize the opportunities that come your way!