By Sumayya Fatima
Before we dive into the most thought, but less spoken topic, let’s look at the definition of Technical Writing:
Technical writing is a means to convey scientific, engineering, and other technical information.
The field of Technical Writing has proved to be the most emerging one, welcoming professionals from various backgrounds and work experiences. Ten years back, experienced professionals who wanted a field switch were attracted to this new profession. Thanks to the Technical Writing Training centers that made this pull of resources in the Technical Writing black hole.
This being the emerging field, it attracted the new-bees as well. Over a period, the field has evolved in terms of processes, standards, tools, etc.
From expecting just MS Office proficiency to a huge list of tools, the expectation from Technical Writers has gone exponentially high. Developers, SMEs, and other stakeholders expect a Technical Writer to be a Tech Savvy, irrespective of the backgrounds they come from. Writers from every organization face the guilt of not coming from a technical background but taking up the Technical Writing career. Is this guilt right? No, it’s absolutely not!
Out of this guilt, writers tend to accept every task – beyond Technical Writing – that the organization expects them to take. For example, testing (like a professional tester), understanding the code, looking into CBAT, etc. They tend to learn these additional skills to build the rapport with the stakeholders and prove their importance in the team.
A question that haunts me is, “Is the field still that attractive to professionals from non-technical backgrounds?”
The field did start with welcoming professionals from all backgrounds, but now that with trending technology, it wants professionals to learn technology, tools, scripting languages, to sustain in the industry.
This article is not a setback for the Technical Communication society. Rather it’s an eye-opener. It forces you to think about your role, responsibilities, and boundaries in your current organization.
You have to set your boundaries right at the workplace, as a Technical Writer. But if you are enthusiastic about learning technical things, showcase it as your additional skill, not a must-to-have skill as a Technical Writer.
There are always two sides to a coin!
Technical Communication is a huge umbrella that covers innumerous types of communication roles:
- Content Developer
- Technical Writer
- Instructional Designer
- Information Developer
- Information Architect
Based on your skills and interest, fit yourself into the right category. But don’t try to play two roles in one category without getting recognition from your organization. Set your boundaries right.
Hail Technical Communication!
About the Author
Sumayya Fatima is a Sr Technical Writer at JDA Software. Prior to this, she worked in Cipher Cloud and Tech Mahindra Limited. Sumayya has also presented at STC India Chapter – Hyderabad Learning Sessions. She has a craving for knowledge sharing. The mother of a 4-year old child is an inspiration to those who desire to excel at their workplace while maintaining a proper work-life balance.