How did I Became a Technical Writer?

If you want to know how I chose to make this my career, it is a long story—actually, I just tripped and fell into it. After that fall, when I got back to my feet, I chose to remain with it because I loved the work. I have always loved the world of books—reading and writing were and still are my passion. Before technical writing happened to me, I used to write poems, short stories, and articles on various subjects for the local newspaper to satisfy my appetite for writing.

To cut the long story short, before I could realize what I was doing with my life I found myself with an engineering degree in hand. The engineering degree got me my first job as a production engineer in an electronics firm. One fine day (it really was a fine day, because it changed my life), I was brooding over what my future had in store for me when I saw an advertisement for the position of a technical writer. The requirement was engineers with air for writing. That was the best combination I could ask for.  A combination of both, my educational background and writing (something that I loved). I applied for the job and was called for an interview. Then, I did not know what technical writing was about, but it was the catchy line in the advertisement that motivated me to apply for the job.

Fortunately, I had ample writing samples to show off my writing worth. I was offered the job, I accepted it, and here I am!

Am I happy being a technical writer?

Yes! Do you think I would have spent one third of my life as a technical writer if I weren’t? Early in the career, there were times when I wondered if it was really fruitful being a technical writer, about how I would grow in this field, and my future in this profession. Simultaneously, I also used to think why I took up this profession when there were other options I could choose from.

The answer was simple, I became a technical writer because I loved the job profile and remained so because I loved being one. If you feel that you have made the right choice, you will be happy with what you are doing and your mind will be at rest. This applied to me as well. I personally find technical writing stimulating, fun, exciting, and a constant learning process (tools, subject, technology, etc.). In the 16 years of my career, I have worked for three organizations (this is my third).

I started my career as a technical writer in one organization and worked with them for a little over five years. Then, I moved on to another organization where I set up the documentation team, the systems, and processes and have been managing the documentation activities. I was there for a decade and then moved out of the comfort zone to the present organization.

What do I like about technical writing?

I like my job—the number of years that I have spent as a technical writer and the effort I have put into writing a book on the subject proves that I just don’t like it, I love it!! Along the way, I discovered this enchanting world of technical writing (for me it is) and I have spent the following years as a one.

  • Technical writing is a combination two things—my passion for writing and my educational background. There are many people who like one or the other. For those who like at both, technical writing is a natural choice.
  • Very few people (like me) have the privilege to love their job. I have the privilege of combining writing, engineering, creativity, and technology—all into one job.
  • I am always learning something new—products, subject, technology, tools, processes, etc.
  • At the end of the day, I feel satisfied because I know that I am responsible for making a difference in some one’s life, by making their life a little easy at work. This very feeling keeps me motivated. I visualize how I have struggled with understanding the concept of certain products.It is probably because the writer who was in charge of that part of the project did not do a good job in explaining the matter. This motivates me to avoid such a situation in the documentation I write and/or co-ordinate. I hope I have been successful!
  • Last but not the least, isn’t it a pleasure to be paid for doing something that you love doing? How many people are this fortunate?
Advertisements

3 Responses

  1. Hi, just wanted your advice for few queries. Having spent 8 years in BPO industry, i know it is not relevant experience, can i still fancy my chances of becoming a technical writer?. Since i have crossed 30, is age a factor in hiring me? I have good writing skills, having documented training material(which was done long back in my current job) and even trained new hires, can i expect a hiring organization to value my skills. Please reply.

    • Hi Ananth,

      Good language + writing skill is a prerequisite. If you have technical expertise or have the ability to understand the information/technology, then nothing like it! You then have good chances of becoming a technical writer.

      As a technical writer, you must be a clear thinker, well-organized, follow styles and formats, and adapt to restrictive writing. You should also be a quick learner, good researcher, and extremely good at multitasking. Actually, the list of skills is endless.

      If you ask if age is a barrier—I shall say that it is and it is not! When hiring experienced writers, age is definitely not considered. When hiring someone without previous technical writing experience, age sometimes becomes a selection criteria.

      For more information on this topic, see: https://sajithajayaprakash.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/age-a-barrier/

      And to answer your last question, yes you can expect hiring organization to value your writing skills. The whole game is about how you create an interesting resume. Your resume should be the perfect example of all the skills we discuss about—clear thinking, organization of information, following styles and formats, restrictive writing, etc. It should make person call you for an interview even though you don’t have the “technical writing experience”. Then give a good performace during the interview.

      Hope this helps.
      Wishing you all the best!

      Sajitha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: