Monday, October 23, 2006

First of all, let me take this opportunity to congratulate all the readers of this blog a very happy and a prosperous deepawali and Eid. On this day, we celebrate the festival of lights and a victory of good versus evil, and also we pray that there is only one god and i.e. the mankind.

When you talk of skills for technical writers, what does it come into your mind? Is it just soft skills or just technical skills, or both of them?

Well, I believe, a technical writer should have more of soft skills than technical skills.

Technical writing involves translating the technical information into more easily understandable language. They prepare a lot of scientific and technical reports, operating and maintenance manuals, catalogues, assembly instructions, sales materials and project proposals. Thus, to be an effective technical writer, you require a good mixture of technical as well as soft skills, such as communication skills and listening skills. Few of the soft skills include the following:

  • Analyzing audiences
  • Interviewing different people, such as subject matter experts etc.
  • Facilitating meetings
  • Managing projects
  • Working without direct supervision
  • Understanding the product single-handedly
  • Having knowledge of different mediums, such as user manuals, marketing literature, technical illustrations, documentation, and so on.

It’s very important for a technical writer to communicate properly either with the client, user, or the developers to produce an effective documentation. The soft skills help a technical writer to build a healthy business relationship with the audience. In addition to this, a technical writer must be patient enough. There may be situations when the technical writers do not get much attention from their peers, developers, and client and so on. Being patient, it helps them to have a keen hope of being granted a one-to-one discussion with different people. Technical writers also must have an ability to quickly understand the information that they seek from different people. This helps them to save time and avoid any further repetitive discussions with different people. It is also equally important for the technical writers to have good researching skills. This means that the technical writers must be able to research properly on the information on which they have to prepare the documentation. It allows them to add value to the documentation.

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