Let me introduce myself.
I am an MBA-HR post-graduate and a science graduate. Post MBA HR-am working in a Manpower consultancy in Bangalore area.
I came across this field of Technical Writing and wanted to enter it.
What would you suggest?
Back in the day I got my first tech writing job by attending a computer conference and wandering around handing out business cards and telling folks if they could explain it to me I could write a manual that users could actually use, reducing their customer service costs. It worked and I started documenting printers of all things. While it’s entirely possible that approach would still work, these days there are all sorts of other methods.
The first thing to sort through is what kind of technical writing do you think you want to do? Hardware documentation? Software? Consumer goods? Something else? Tech writing is a broad, generic description. Most of us think computers when we here it, but my son has a tech writing job with a medical device company – everything from toasters to content management systems need documentation of some sort.
You also need to know what skills you bring to the job. For example, I pulled this list of skills from a job posted for a Junior Tech Writer on Dice.com:
DESIRED TECHNICAL SKILLS:
Strong communication skills and attention to detail.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio) and presentation/graphics programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite; familiarity with social media. Basically, someone who has had a lot of computer face time using MS Office, Adobe, and Graphics programs. Plus an understanding the social media tools like LinkedIn, FB, Twitter etc.
Familiarity with current technology, e.g., virtualization, server-based computing, cloud computing, information security, storage.
I actually qualify for this job and so would many others. Of course, it’s a full time job in New York city… not my thing, and I suspect not yours. But it does demonstrate that you may not need heavy tech skills to get started.
Another approach is to get some sort of technical writing certificate. There are all sorts of them available – just search for them and pick a program that makes sense to you.
There are also lots of places to look for tech writing jobs. Dice.com is one of the original places tech writing jobs get posted and it’s still a good source. There are many others now, including Craigslist.org which was also active early on. Elance lets you bid on them and a search on the phrase, tech writing jobs on Google, brings up a staggering number of resources.
Of course, Manpower, your company, also places contract tech writers – that might be your best opportunity.
Do you have a question about freelance writing? Email me with Q&A in the subject line and I’ll do my best to answer you.
How did you get started in your chosen writing field?