Technical Communication and its Value
Why do we need technical communication?
We all deal with a host of complex systems at home and at work – from computers to cars, consumer products to business procedures – and the need for accurate and accessible documentation to explain them has never been greater.
If people cannot use a product or service, or cannot find out how to solve problems they might come across, they are less likely to use or buy it. This means organisations need to create and manage content such as: Help pages, user guides, manuals, installation instructions, operating and safety procedures, business processes, training materials, chatbots, and even the text embedded into the product itself.
For more information, see this article:
Technical communication is all around you
It includes the instructional material in every day use that we often take for granted. Indeed, some of the most successful technical documentation is that which allows a person to use the subject almost intuitively.
Professional technical communicators are highly skilled people
They are experienced and trained in communicating technical information to their audience. They have:
- The ability to communicate clearly
- An understanding of how the subject can be used safely and efficiently
- Scientific or technical knowledge of the subject
- Skills in the tools used to create and publish the information
- An understanding of how we communicate
Technical communication as a career
Technical communicators who are members of the ISTC have a wide variety of backgrounds, and they work in many fields.
- What it’s like being a technical writer at GDS by the Government Digital Service (Gov.UK)
- The content designer role at the Government Digital Service (Gov.UK)
- Graphic novel – The CEO and the technical communicator by Cherryleaf (PDF).
- A day in the life of a technical communicator – A series of articles in Communicator magazine.
- Careers in technical communication
- What skills and training do you need to be a technical communicator?
- Thinking of a career in Technical Communications?, by the ISTC (PDF).
- Technical Writer career factsheet for secondary schools and career fairs , by David Farbey (PDF).
Technical communicators in the workplace: Job titles
Technical communicators can appear under a number of different job titles in the workplace. These include:
- Information Designers
- Publication Managers
- Documentation Managers
- Technical Authors
- Technical Writers
- Information Developers
- Content Developers
- Content Strategists
- Technical Communicators
It can also be part of other roles, such as:
- User Interface Designers
- User Acceptance Testers
- Information Architects
- Quality Managers
- DeskTop Publishers
- Graphic Designers
- Multimedia Designers
- Software Designers
- Webmasters and more!
What technical communication is not
Generally, the term “technical communication” is not seen as the writing of:
- Academic papers
- Instructions for medicines (this is usually known as medical writing)
- Advertisements (this is usually known as copywriting)
Join the ISTC
If you prepare instructional information, be it documents, web pages or technical illustrations, the ISTC is for you.
See: Joining the ISTC