A general answer to a frequently asked question: “What is technical writing?”
Technical writing, sometimes called business writing, is writing for a specific purpose and with a specific goal. Usually its goal is to inform/instruct or persuade/argue. Technical writing can really be considered transactional writing because there are two people or groups involved in the communication. One party has a clear goal to inform or persuade the other party. This is real-world writing in every sense. You may not be aware of how much it already impacts your world through textbooks, instructions, web sites, and communications from many businesses and service organizations. There are professional technical communicators but only large organizations have them and even then they are not there to do your daily work for you and that is why it is so helpful for many to take at least an introductory technical writing class.
Why is technical communication important and what will you use it for? Actually, technical writing will be used by most college graduates as a regular part of their work. It is much more likely that you will use technical writing than either academic or creative writing unless you specifically enter those fields. A few examples of why you will likely need these skills include: getting a job – preparing a resume or curriculum vitae, cover letter, application, and portfolio; doing your job – preparing memos, letters, reports, instructions, case reports, reviews, assignments, descriptions, etc.; and keeping your job – communicating with management, co-workers, peers, patients/students/public.