The Value of Technical Communication

Why do we need technical communication?

We all deal with complex systems at home and at work – from computers to cars, consumer products to business procedures. 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 that guides users.

Technical communication is all around you

This content could be: 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.

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.

Technical communicators are highly skilled people

Technical communicators are experienced and trained in communicating technical information to their audience. They have:

  • The ability to communicate clearly
  • A 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.

Job titles for technical communicators in the workplace

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
  • Documentarians
  • Information Developers
  • Content Developers
  • Content Strategists
  • Illustrators
  • Translators
  • Technical Communicators

It can also be part of other roles, such as:

  • User Interface Designers
  • User Acceptance Testers
  • Information Architects
  • Quality Managers
  • DeskTop Publishers
  • Editors
  • Lecturers/Professors
  • Instructors
  • Engineers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Indexers
  • Multimedia Designers
  • Scientists
  • Software Designers
  • Trainers
  • 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)
  • Encyclopaedias
  • Advertisements (this is usually known as copywriting)
  • Novels

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