TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
I agree that knowledge of the subject that you are writing on is important
to be a successful tech writer, but how would someone chose which knowledge
I used to work for an eletrical engineering firm and I had to write
instruction sheets on how to install dimmers. I have never taken an
electrical engineering class and I did not have a problem writing the sheets
at all. Why? Because the audience I was writing for was in the same boat.
Therefore I would ask the enginners for a brief explanation on how to do it
and then do the installation myself, then write the instructions. Not only
did we have less returns on these products as soon as a non-electrician
starting writing the instruction sheets, the engineers loved telling me how
their product worked.
I do have knowledge on computers and some computer languages. I now write
for a software company and I must say that having this prior knowledge has
helped me to no end. So I think that having a grasp on what you are writing
about is important to a degree. But knowledge of the end user is more
important in my opinion.
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