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© 2009-2010 Ugur Akinci
If you are just starting out on your professional career or thinking to make a career change, you might want to use the below check list to see if technical writing would be a correct choice for you.
1) Are you good with language? Have you been noted since you were a child for your ease with spoken and written words? That’s a must for a technical writer.
2) Do you like to work outdoors? Technical writing is an indoors activity.
3) Do you like to work with others as a team member? Technical writing is not a solitary occupation. You’ll need to interact with a number of different experts to get the job done.
4) Do you like technology? You’ll need to learn new technical concepts and systems on a regular basis so that you’ll be able to describe them to others in a language they can understand.
5) Do you need a byline? Do you need to become famous? Technical writers usually do not earn any bylines. They do not sign their work. They mostly remain anonymous.
6) Are you patient with details? Technical writing takes a lot of patience for learning complicated systems and a painstaking dedication to details. If you are an impatient person by nature, you may want to consider another line of work for yourself.
Technical writing, in essence, is teaching and training through documents… (Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)
7) Do you care for the accuracy of stated facts like it were a “religious duty”? If you feel at home with the idea that things “may be wrong from time to time,” or the idea that “if a statement is not 100% true it’s not a big deal,” then you probably need another line of work since as a technical writer you may end up writing the operational procedures for a nuclear plant or an airforce base.
8) Do you enjoy a steady good income generated either by full-time employment or freelance assignments? Then technical writing might indeed be the right field for you.
9) Do you enjoy generous job benefits that include health insurance both for you and your loved ones, paid annual vacations as well as sick and personal days, a retirement plan a part of which is paid by your employer, paid job training, opportunity to travel and participate in exciting professional meetings and activities? Then a full-time employment as a technical writer might be an excellent choice for you.