Technical Writing Courses: Overview of Skills Taught in Technical Writing Courses

Published Sep 09, 2009

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Technical Writing requires the ability to communicate clearly in writing and an understanding of the technology you are writing about. Although Technical Writing is most often associated with computer technology, it also applies to such tasks as writing grants, training manuals and appliance instructions.

Skills Taught in Technical Writing Courses

Certain skills are fundamental to all types of technical writing. Whether the Technical Writing you do is primarily business communication, research documentation, speech writing or any other specialization, the following are among the skills taught in Technical Writing courses:

  • Critical thinking: evaluating information to reach reasonable and rational conclusions
  • Research methodology: properly collecting, assembling and analyzing technical data
  • Technical communication: clearly expressing information to match the comprehension level of your audience
  • Technical editing: reviewing, correcting and finalizing technical documents
  • Documentation design: creating the best visual and textual structure for technical material
  • Usability: ensuring that the end user understands what you have written
  • Information structure: arranging data in an order appropriate to the subject you're writing about
  • Interviewing: asking questions of technicians in the field and accurately conveying their answers

Skills Taught in Specialized Technical Writing Courses

Along with basic Technical Writing skills, students planning to enter certain fields need to acquire and develop additional skills that are relevant to their chosen field. Below are some of the skills taught in specialized Technical Writing courses for a variety of fields.

  • Medical: translating complex medical information into simple language
  • Legal: mastering legal terminology and language
  • Computer technology: simplifying complex material for end users
  • Grantwriting: preparing proposals according to the funder's requirements

Skills Taught in a Technical Writing Certificate Program

While a certificate in Technical Writing is not essential, earning one may give you an advantage when applying for a job. Following are some of the course topics you're likely to encounter in a Technical Writing certificate program.

  • Creating user guides: applying logical structure to end-user documentation
  • Project management: supervising and structuring Technical Writing projects
  • Software writing: creating documentation to accompany software programs
  • Online documentation: using HTML, PDF and other languages and file formats to create online instruction and help files

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