ABCs of Technical Writing


$50.00
no certificate
- OR -
$75.00
with CEU Certificate*
Start Right Now!
Taking multiple courses? Save with our platinum program.
 
  • 11
    Lessons
  • 19
    Exams &
    Assignments
  • 9
    Hours
    average time
  • 0.9
    CEUs
  • 1,983
    Students
    have taken this course
 
 
Search Button
 

Course Description

Technical writing is the art and science of translating technical information into readable, accessible writing usable by a wide audience. If you have ever read the user's manual for a piece of software or equipment you've purchased, you've seen technical writing in action. Creating manuals, help and technical support systems, online help systems, and instruction manuals are some of the main projects technical writers take on. Since nearly every business in every industry imaginable has at least an occasional need to bring technical information to its users and customers, technical writing is found in nearly every business, government agency, and non-profit organization.

If you work in a high tech industry, technical writing may be a part of your job description and daily duties. If you love to write, enjoy learning, and have an interest in technology, technical writing can be an exciting, rewarding career in itself. Job opportunities in the field are expected to grow as technology continues to advance.

Whether you are called upon to communicate technical information to clients and coworkers, or you are thinking of technical writing as a new and interesting career, this course is designed to help you get started. We'll talk more about the kinds of products technical writers get involved in, and discuss the kinds of skills that successful technical writing requires. We'll talk about ways to approach and organize a technical writing project, and look at the kinds of materials technical writers produce, from written manuals to video tutorials. For those looking at technical writing as a new career, we'll discuss ways of improving your skill set, getting training, making contacts, and breaking into the field.
Like many terms, technical writing is defined in different ways, but most definitions tend to agree on one central principle. Technical writing is the art and science of translating technical information generated by subject matter experts into readable, accessible information usable by a wider audience. If you have ever read the user's manual for a piece of software or equipment that you've purchased, you've seen technical writing in action. Creating user manuals, help, technical support documents, online help systems, and instruction manuals are some of the main projects technical writers take on. Since nearly every business in every industry imaginable has at least an occasional need to bring technical information to its users and customers, technical writing is found in nearly every business, governmental, and non-profit arena.
 
Who does technical writing? Depending on a company's size and needs, it may hire one or more full time technical writing specialists, or it may occasionally hire contract writers or outsource writing needs to freelance writers or agencies. In other cases, engineers, developers, project managers, and others involved in the creation of a product will be called upon to create user documentation and training materials for the product they are developing. If the term technical writing is defined a bit more broadly, it can include marketing and public relations materials, brochures, sales letters, and trade articles. Indeed, in any situation where a complex product, service, or feature must be explained in simple terms, technical writing skills will come into play.

Some of the fields in which technical writing is commonly needed include the computer and software industries, the consumer and industrial electronics industries, the medical and healthcare fields, and any other area where technical information needs to be disseminated in a readable and understandable form. In the United States and other developed countries, where knowledge industries, whose primary products are information based, companies are faced with the task of organizing and maintaining vast knowledge banks and databases. Companies like Google, for instance, do not produce products but instead package information in useful, usable forms. New content management systems and knowledge management systems are being designed to help companies manage their informational assets. In many cases, technical writers are moving into these roles as well. 

Technical writing, then, can be a career, or just a part of your job description. Whether you are called upon to communicate technical information to clients and coworkers, or you are thinking of technical writing as a new and interesting career, this course is designed to help you get started. We'll talk more about the kinds of products technical writers get involved in, and discuss the kinds of skills that successful technical writing requires. We'll talk about ways to approach and organize a technical writing project, and look at the kinds of materials technical writers produce, from written manuals to video tutorials. If you love to write and are looking at technical writing as a viable career, we'll discuss ways of improving your skills set, getting training, and breaking into the field.
 

Technical Writer or Technical Communicator?


More and more, technical writers don't just write. As documentation and training materials become more interactive and audiovisual media more transferable over the World Wide Web, a wide variety of materials, from video tutorials to podcasts, screencasts to video blogs, some say the term technical writer is outdated. Many practitioners in the field prefer the term technical communicator, which allows for the many other modes of communication besides writing that are available. In many ways, the term technical communicator speaks to the heart of the technical writer's job, communicating technical information successfully to less technical audiences. Still, some people prefer to be called technical writers, or just tech writers, as the term technical communicator is somewhat vague and a bit of a mouthful. For purposes of this course, we'll use the two terms interchangeably, remembering that a technical writer can often do a lot more than simply write.

Technical Writing, A Viable Career?


The U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the median salary for technical writers at $58,000, with the middle 50% of workers earning between $45,000 and $74,000. As technology continues to advance, and becomes involved more and more with our daily lives, the need for skilled technical communicators is expected to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs will grow 20% between 2012 and 2022.
 
 
Clearly, technical writing can be a financially rewarding career. As technical communicators continue to find ways to increase their value to organizations by improving communications and facilitating the management of knowledge, their earning potential can increase as well. In addition, technical writing offers a challenging, rewarding workday. Technical writers don't just write. They interview experts, collaborate with designers and production staff, participate in product testing and development, and manage large projects. As we progress through this course, we'll examine these different roles in detail.
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider
 
 

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating) 4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating) 4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating) 4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating) 4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,210 votes)

Lesson 1. What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is the art and science of translating technical information generated by subject matter experts into readable, accessible information usable by a wider audience. 31 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 1
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: What is Technical Writing?

Lesson 2. Projects for Technical Writers

As we've discussed before, nearly every industry involves some technical writing, especially if we include marketing materials under the technical writing umbrella. 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review Article: Are You Ready?
  • Take Poll: Imagination Rules
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 2
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Projects for Technical Writers

Lesson 3. The Technical Writing Process

Whether you're writing software manuals, online help, brochures, or scripting a video, the core goals of technical writing remain the same. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: The Technical Writing Process

Lesson 4. How to Write Effectively

At its core, good technical writing is simply good writing about technical topics. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 4
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: How to Write Effectively

Lesson 5. Teaching an Alien to Drive

The challenge in delivering usable information is in knowing what level of detail and complexity is appropriate, and what elements of a given process you can assume that your reader knows and which ones you'll have to explain. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Teaching an Alien to Drive

Lesson 6. The First End User, You

In this lesson, we'll look at this part of the process in greater detail, and we'll see how the technical writer can add value to the company's product by evaluating its usability as it is being developed. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review Article: Keeping Up With Technology
  • Take Poll: What Type of Learner are You?
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 6
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: The First End User: You

Lesson 7. Getting It Done. Project Management and the Technical Writer

Technical writers often need to manage more than one large project at a time. Developing good project management skills is as important (or more so) than good writing skills. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Getting It Done: Project Management and the Technical Writer

Lesson 8. Words, Pictures, and Links. The Growing Array of Deliverable Formats

As we've seen in earlier lessons, a technical writer's output is not just written manuals anymore. Let's look further at the types of deliverables you as a technical writer could be called upon to produce. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review Article: Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Words, Pictures, and Links: The Growing Array of Deliverable Formats

Lesson 9. Breaking into Technical Writing

Is a career in technical writing for you? By now we've talked enough about the kind of work that you'd be doing to give you a sense of whether it is the kind of work you might enjoy. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Job Opportunities; Your Portfolio
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 9
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Breaking into Technical Writing

Lesson 10. The Tech Writer's Toolbox

What tools do you need to succeed as a technical writer? Often, you need to know whatever tools your company chooses to use. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Take Poll: Language Basics
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: The Tech Writer's Toolbox

Lesson 11. Staying in Touch

What is the future of technical writing? The answer is interactivity. The phenomenon of Web 2.0 has converted Web surfers into Web content providers. People don't just browse the web anymore, they get involved. 565 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review Article: Technical Writing Blogs
  • Take Poll: How would you rate this course?
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 11
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: Staying in Touch
  • Complete: Technical Writing - Final Exam
780
Total Course Points
 

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify what technical writing is.
  • Identify the types of projects that require technical writers.
  • Know the technical writing process.
  • Write technical materials more effectively.
  • Write with the end-user in mind, and not the product owner.
  • Demonstrate time management skills to complete a project.
  • Evaluate your technical writing.
  • Identify the best resources for finding technical writing projects, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
 
Course Title: ABCs of Technical Writing
Course Number: 7550201
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: Professional Development (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dr. Deirdre Mithaug
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

Choose Your Subscription Plan

Course Only
One Course
No Certificate / No CEUs
$50
for 6 months
 
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate X
Includes CEUs X
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Certificate Course
One Course
Certificate & CEUs
$75
for 6 months
 
Billed once
This course only
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 6 months
No. of courses 1 course
Platinum Yearly
Best Value
ALL COURSES
Certificates & CEUs
$189
per year
You save 50%!
Billed once
Includes all 500+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete 12 Months
No. of courses 500+
Platinum Monthly
ALL COURSES
Certificates & CEUs
$59 first month
$29.00 / each consecutive month thereafter
 
Billed monthly
Includes all 500+ courses
Includes certificate Yes
Includes CEUs Yes
Self-paced Yes
Instructor support Yes
Time to complete Monthly
No. of courses 500+
 

Student Testimonials

  • "Everything was great." -- Nancy M.
  • "It was a good overview, which is exactly what I was looking for. I enjoyed your classes. Thank you." -- Beth B.
  • "Excellent!" -- Jeannine S.
  • "I really enjoyed working with the instructor. I found the writing assignments most helpful. Practicing specific writing skills is the best way to learn technical writing." -- Paul S.
  • "The instructor was so helpful." -- Anchal N.

Related Courses