Technical Writing and Instructional Designing are never considered one and the same. If you go for a job interview, the hiring manager asks you for relevant experience in Instructional Designing or Technical Writing. If you are applying for the post of a Technical Writer, only your experience in technical writing is considered. If you are applying for the post of an Instructional Designers, your experience on paper is considered and salary is fixed accordingly.
Till some years back I was also under the impression that Technical Writing and Instructional Designing are varied professions. Today I do not think so, especially when I have tried my hand at both of the professions.
In fact, these questions come to my mind now:
- Why is Instructional Designing and Technical Writing treated separate?
- Why is it debated whether Technical Writing is better than Instructional Designing or vice versa?
- Do these job functions require completely different skill sets?
- Is it really difficult for a Technical Writer to get into Instructional Designing or vice versa?
Let me now try to define the role and responsibilities of a Technical Writer and an Instructional Designer and then come back to my thoughts on the questions I raised.