SPOTLIGHT 4 - Technical Writing Course

Becoming a Technical Writer


If you are a good writer and looking for a new career, or a side hustle to your existing career, then technical writing skills are greatly in demand.

This blog will consider -

  • What is technical writing?
  • Types of technical writing
  • What skills do technical writers need?
  • Successful technical writing
  • How do you become a technical writer?

What is technical writing?


Technical writing is a precise and intensive form of writing. It involves writing detailed information and instructions.  Technical writing also involves making complex processes simple. Imagine you had to tell someone how to make a cup of coffee. Sounds simple? But if you have to write precise instructions to someone who has never done this before, it is harder than it sounds.


Write instructions on how to make a sandwich. Easy again? Not really. Think about the way sandwiches can be made, with bread, with wraps, with or without butter, with salad, what types of fillings, etc, etc. It is not as easy as it sounds.


So technical writers aim to explain complex issues and instructions in a clearer and more simplified way.


Types of Technical Writing

There are many different types of technical writing. Technical writing can be carried out in

  • Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Construction
  • Medicine
  • Science
  • Furniture making
  • Business
  • Academic writing and much more.

Let’s look at some examples of how technical writing can be used.



Technical writing, as with other forms of writing, is a form of communication. With technical writing, the aim is to make the communication clearer by simplifying points.  Imagine a politician drops a leaflet in your door asking you to vote for them at the next election. A good technical writer should be able to clearly explain what the politician stands for.   


A good technical writer should also be able to write clearly. They should avoid jargon if possible. But if they do use jargon, they should make sure it is clearly explained.


Good communication is not just about politics though. Good communication is essential in most areas of life.


Many of us, when starting a new job, will be trained how to perform different tasks. A good technical writer will ensure that any training manual is clearly and precisely written, so that staff members understand what they should do.



Technical writing also makes logical arguments, explaining the pros and cons of both arguments, the logic behind them.


Writing Instructions

A common example of technical writing is writing instructions. At some time or another, you have probably bought something that required instructions to be used. For example, a new washing machine or a new camera. Or you may have bought something that needed to be constructed, such as a model, shelves, a wardrobe. Writing instructions is a part of technical writing, and it can be harder than it looks. There is the old cliché that flat pack furniture instructions are often incomprehensible. A good technical writer will be able to clearly explain to someone how to perform a particular task, construct something, use something etc. Instructions should therefore be precise and clear.


For example,

  • Instructions on how to take a certain medication, the side effects etc.
  • Training manuals
  • Staff training manuals
  • Instructions on how to do something or construct something


Technical writing is also an important part of educational and academic writing. We have talked about staff training and training manuals in information, they also merge into education. Also, we have educational technical writing, such as –

  • Essay writing
  • Project writing
  • Book writing


Writing for business can include writing –

  • Contracts
  • Proposals
  • Technical reports
  • Bids


As well as writing instructions, academically and so on, technical writing can cover a wide range of other forms of writing, such as –

  • Blogs, for example, how to set up a new camera
  • Book writing, for example, explaining the importance of insects to the planet Earth
  • Columnist, writing for newspapers and magazines, or websites
  • Travel writing
  • Journalism generally
  • Copywriting, writing advertising and copy for marketing purposes
  • Writing posts for social media
  • Novel writing
  • Writing scripts and video scripts

These are just some examples. Technical writing is very varied and an interesting career.  

When considering whether technical writing is the right job for you, you need to consider the skills required by technical writers.


What skills do technical writers need?


A good technical writer needs to be flexible. Lucky technical writers may have a full time job working for an organisation, but that is not always the case, so technical writers must be willing to be flexible and work in a range of different ways. For example –

  • Technical writing as part of their job
  • Working as a contract writer
  • Writing part time
  • Technical writing as a side hustle



A technical writer should also be willing to work in a way to meet the needs of their clients. For example –

  • Working to tight deadlines.
  • Be willing to accept feedback and criticism of their work and see it as a way to improve their writing skills.
  • Be willing to learn from their mistakes.
  • Be able to write quickly and well.
  • Work well with others.

Write Clearly

They should be able to write clearly and precisely, explaining complicated concepts in a simplified and clear way.

This means that they should also be able to –

  • Understand
  • Research
  • Explain

complicated topics.


Successful Technical Writing

To be a successful technical writer, it is important to understand the principles of technical writing –

  • Have good research skills.
  • The audience – who are you writing for?
  • The complexity and quality of the content. If you are writing a complicated scientific document aimed at scientists, you will write very differently to explaining a scientific principle to 15 years olds studying physics at school.
  • Have a clear understanding of the principle of the writing. What are you trying to achieve with the writing? For example, is it to educate, instruct, inform, argue?
  • The writing should be accessible. For example, not using technical terms or jargon that may not be understood by the audience. If you do have to use jargon or technical terms, then ensure that they are clearly explained.
  • Have good planning skills to ensure that your writing has a structure that makes sense.
  • Stick to the topic.
  • Have a good use of grammar and punctuation in your writing.
  • If graphics are used, make sure they are well chosen and relevant.
  • Be good at editing and reviewing your own work.
  • Have an engaging writing style.
  • Be impersonal.
  • And, of course, be a good writer.

How do you become a technical writer?

Technical writing is a varied and fascinating career.  If you think you are –

  • A clear and precise writer
  • A good researcher
  • Able to work at a fast pace
  • Able to meet deadlines
  • A good communicator

Then why not consider working as a technical writer?


The first step is to become a technical writer is to gain some understanding and experience in technical writing. A good way to do this is to undertake a training course.


We offer an intensive Technical Writing course with ACS Distance Education. It requires around 100 hours of study and includes tutor support. This is useful as you will gain constructive feedback and advice on how to improve your technical writing.


You can view the course here


contact us to find out more.   


Whether you're just starting out in your career or looking to make a change, technical writing is a valuable and in-demand skillset that can open up many opportunities. By learning about the different types of technical writing, the skills required to excel in this field, and the paths to becoming a successful technical writer, you can set yourself up for a fulfilling and rewarding career in technical writing.


So why not explore this fascinating field and see where your technical writing skills can take you?


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