As the world puts more emphasis on STEM fields, the need for great technical writers to provide communication support for business and science is bound to grow.
Students, however, often find technical writing to be difficult and sometimes unpleasant.
This style of writing is very different from crafting expository or informative essays you might be familiar with from your college or university times.
But technical writing can be a powerful skill that employers value in potential employees. Once you master it, you can become a more valuable job candidate.
In fact, the median annual wage for technical writers is $74,650, which is much higher than wages earned by regular writers.
But what do you need to do to become better at technical writing?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips and tricks for students looking to develop technical writing skills.
What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is the process of drafting technical communications in which an author conveys specific technical information about an occupational or technical subject, such as aeronautics, automotive, biotechnology, chemistry, computer hardware and software, consumer electronics, engineering, finance, forestry, medical, and robotics.
According to the Society for Technical Communication, technical writing involves:
(1) communicating about technical or specialized topics, such as computer applications, medical procedures, or environmental regulations.
(2) communicating by using technology, such as web pages, help files, or social media sites.
(3) providing instructions about how to do something, regardless of how technical the task is.
Technical writing differs from expository or creative writing because it focuses primarily on providing information rather than making arguments or describing emotions.
10 Effective Tips For Improving Your Technical Writing Skills
There are some time-tested practices to keep in mind when engaging in technical writing to make sure that your audience understands you and that you’ll convey all of the necessary information:
1. Know that you’re writing for a specific audience
Writing is a form of communication, and a message is only as successful as the audience perceives it to be.
Think about who your audience is comprised of, what they know, and what they need to know. Avoid words and phrases that they won’t understand and write for their educational level to make sure that your message is clear and easily understood.
2. Use the present tense in your technical writing
The present tense is easier to understand, and you should try to avoid the use of the past tense because it can create unnecessary confusion.
That’s particularly germane in technical material describing instructions or providing guidance for individuals to complete the steps in the process.
3. Use sections or headings in order to break up the text
Headings and section breaks can help to divide a text up and make it easier for the audience to follow.
When the audience can see the parts laid out visually and not just verbally, it makes it much simpler to follow along and absorb the information.
When you plan your document, be sure to think about how the information can be presented in a creative, easy-to-understand way.
4. Use transition words to link sections
Using appropriate transition words such as “next,” “following,” “however,” etc. can help to make it easier for your audience to understand how the parts of your discussion will connect.
Transition words are important for guiding the audience from one point to the next. The transition words clue the audience in whether the next point builds on the previous one, clarifies it, or offers an opposing view.
5. Include charts and illustrations
When you include charts and illustrations, you can visually depict the information. It is often easier for audiences to understand material visually than it is to understand it verbally.
When it comes to giving instructions, showing technical illustrations often makes the process much simpler.
When you are discussing technical material, graphs and charts can lay out the information in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand in verbal form.
6. Edit and then re-edit for complete clarity and readability
Editing is an important step in any technical writing process. Writing your technical material is only the first step.
After you have finished the first draft you need to edit and then edit again until the entire document is polished and easy to understand.
In technical discussions, it can be especially problematic to have an error or an unclear instruction that could lead to dangerous confusion.
7. Avoid contractions
Technical writing necessitates the use of formal English. Spell out “do not,” “would not,” etc. Feel free to avoid such contractions for writing your technical report in college or university.
8. Use the Oxford comma
Using a comma before “and” in a series can avoid costly confusion and ambiguities. When this comma is omitted, unclear results follow.
For example, consider this book inscription: “For my parents, Maya Angelou and Jesus.” The writer did not mean that Maya Angelou and Jesus were the writer’s parents, but the lack of comma leaves it unclear.
9. Keep yourself updated with the latest industry information
Read current literature in the field to make sure you are aware of the latest practices, trends, and ideas. It will help you create good technical papers on current topics.
10. Consider taking technical writing courses
Even expert technical writers and homework helpers can benefit from refresher courses to keep current.
Technical Writing Help: Do You Need It Online?
If you are in need of some extra help with technical writing for a college or university course, it might make sense to pay someone to do your technical writing homework assignments.
Online experts at homework services like MyAssignmentLab.com can help with doing projects in STEM fields like engineering, chemistry, computer programming, mathematics, and more.
When you take advantage of the online assistance from more experienced writers, you can develop a better understanding of the rhythms of technical writing to produce stronger and more effective homework assignments of your own.