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How Can I Become a Technical Writer?

Question: Dear Anne, How can I become a freelance technical writer? - cmk

Answer: Hi cmk, depending on your skill and the area you live in, you may be able to land a technical writing gig by simply  applying to a firm looking for technical writers. But these days your best bet is to first get some sort of technical writing certificate. There are all sorts of ways to do this: tech schools, junior colleges, state colleges and universities, etc. etc. You may even be able to get one online.

You do want a class or classes that actually teach you something about tech writing. Often this includes use of software such as RoboHelp and FrameMaker. Some technical writing requires knowledge of programming languages like Java and Flash or even C++.

Tech writing ranges from creating data sheets on products through manual writing, medical and science writing and writing white papers. (See also Tech Writing Overview for Freelancers)

So sift through the options and decide what sort tech writing you'd like to do and aim for that kind of class.

It may also make sense to find out who in your area hires tech writers and just ask them what kind of credentials they want.

The Society for Technical Communications is a trade organization for tech writers and you can find good information there.

Question and Answer Index

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