Technical Writing in A Modern World

   What is a technical writer? If you prick one will they bleed blood? Or will it be facts, figures and diagrams?

Sarah Maddox writes in her blog  about a book by Andrew Etter(a self published writer):  Modern Technical Writing: An Introduction to Software Documentation

In his book, Andrew goes over the key aspects of what he believes about  being a technical writer in today’s world:

  • Learn: Know what you’re talking about and why your audience should care.
  • Write in Lightweight Markup: Markup languages are a system for annotating a document that makes it clear that it’s not text. (Example the link above is HTML Hypertext Markup Language). Lightweight Markup can get you from a “Pleasant writing experience to a useful website”
  • Create static websites: A web page with fixed content.
  • Treat docs as code

Ms.Maddox then writes about the process for Mr.Etter to get his book out , his price range and the troubles he had while publishing.

Mr.Etter then began to speak about the value of a technical Writer. The things that make the job unique. The points he  brought to the table were :

  • Consistency- Regarding tooling. Mr. Etter claims that without tech writers engineering teams would have to pick their own tools “which would result in chaos”. As a budding Computer Engineer I can appreciate that.
  • Accountability – The documentation needs to be good or else some gets a pink slip.
  • Creation and C : The writers have a community that can review and take care of each other’s content.
  • Culture- Having people who really know what they’re doing, allows you to know what your document should look like.
  • They can help an organization save time. And time is money.

Finally  goes over the old and the new ways of producing documentation, which can be found in Mr.Etter’s: Modern Technical Writing: An Introduction to Software Documentation

A good 45 minute read that should illuminate,destroy common myths, clear misconceptions about Technical Writing today.

-Hakeem Buchanan

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