As with most writing conferences, the 2015 Philadelphia Technical Writing Expo was informative and empowering. The speakers were experts on their field and successfully explained in detail the essential things to know and understand about technical writing. This included a discussion on the definition of technical writing, its difference from business writing, and how one can become a successful technical writer, among others.
Here are some of the details on what was discussed in the expo.
Technical Writing Defined
According to the old definition of technical writing, it is the method of documenting procedures, processes, or systems such as manuals, policies, or instruction materials. However, this definition has been old-fashioned, since this field of writing is no longer limited to writing manuals.
The new definition describes technical writing as the documentation of simple and complicated technical processes, including statements, briefs, and reports. This can also involve writing for and about finance, IT, manufacturing, and engineering. If you are in the technical field, then you are most probably practicing technical writing.
Business vs. Technical Writing
Though technical writing involves mostly all technical stuff, it is not business writing. The latter is a larger category. In fact, some aspects of technical writing can fall under the business writing category, in that it involves documents and procedures, but it doesn’t necessarily involve business.
Becoming A Technical Writer
Technical writing can be a profitable job that can lead to a successful full-time profession. The approximate salary of technical writers in the United States per year is nearly $70,000. Initial salaries from Glassdoor are around $40,000 and eventually increase to $90,000 for the senior technical writers.
Documents That Technical Writers Can Write
The type of industry dictates what type of documents the technical writer makes. But generally, he can write almost everything as long as it is written technically. These include:
- Press releases
- Executive summaries
- User manuals
- Product descriptions
- Technical reports
If you are set out to become an awesome technical writer, you must achieve the goal of enabling your readers to clearly understand a technical document in a way that it’s like they’re reading something non-technical!