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Word perfect

education Updated: Jun 27, 2011 12:15 IST
Hindustan Times

The lowdown
Technical writing involves activities including information requirement analysis, information design, information development, information quality assurance, information publication, information archival and retrieval and post-publication resolution of information issues. Technical writing as an activity communicates information that is clear, concise, creative, correct, compliant, consistent and ultimately helpful to the audience

Clock Work
9am: Reach office
10am: Check documentation issues, prioritise them
10.30am: Discussions with programmers or quality team, depending on the relevance of the issue.
1.30pm: Lunch
2.30pm: Get content reviewed and published
3.30pm: Team meetings, training sessions
6pm: Leave for home

The payoff
Remuneration varies across industry. Starters can get around R10,000 to R18,000 a month. With five to nine years of experience one can get R30,000 to R45,000 a month. With more experience, sky is the limit

. Basic to expert level language editing skills
. Knowledge of Lotus Symphony, MS Office, Adobe Technical Communication Suite, FileNet, Author IT, Documentum, etc
. Basic to expert level programming language skills like C, C++, Java. Certain job roles will require knowledge of specific applications and tools like Databases, ERP, CAD, etc

Getting There
Unlike other professions, you do not require any specific qualification, degree or certificate. Some organisations prefer a mass communication or literature background. Candidates with knowledge of content management tools, specific programming languages and applications are more likely to land jobs as a technical writers

You can do a course in technical writing from a private institute. Graduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes can be done in the US, Canada, Australia. Technical communication as a PhD subject can go together with computer science, and even philosophy

Pros and cons
. You get to learn more about the product you are writing about
. Your words can reach the entire world as many will read about it
. One can diversify into advertising

Organisations are seeking writers who can understand technical content and can communicate it to their target audiences in simple and comprehensible prose Sunayna Malik, managing director, Text 100