Technical writing within the Information Technology (IT) field is rapidly increasing. To build their credibility and IT experience, technical writers can acquire general and role specific IT certifications. This article discusses the different types of writing individuals may encounter, the importance of certifications, how to choose a certification, and some recommended certifications.
Technical Writers have countless career opportunities. For instance, writers can explore interests within different fields such as the medical, legal, educational, research, or information technology (IT) field. Additionally, writers can choose to specialize in one or more types of writing, some of which are listed in Chart 1.
|Types of Writing||Examples|
|Traditional||Manuals, studies, and medical reports|
|End-user documentation||Product, service, or electronics documentation (often involves troubleshooting guides)|
|Media content||Press releases or catalogs|
Chart 1. Types of Technical Writing
Writers can become qualified in more than one type of writing and may choose to write in a variety of fields over their career. This article will focus on certifications that can assist technical writers in transitioning into the IT field. Note that technical writers within the IT field may exercise one or more types of writing depending on their role.
Why Invest in Certifications?
Regardless of the type or field of writing, certifications are a tool that help build credibility and knowledge in a specific area. Certifications also strengthen an individual’s CV or resume and improve the overall chances of a candidate being hired.
Although the time and money required to gain certifications may be intimidating, pursuing a certification is an investment in one’s career and long-term goals. Most courses and programs allow participants to work at their own pace, thereby offering a flexible alternative to a bachelor’s or graduate degree.
Choosing a Certification
The terms and titles for technical writers in the IT field vary depending on the job requirements and company: software technical writers, knowledge management analysts, content developers, and technical communication specialists are only some examples of the job titles technical writers can hold. Determining the appropriate certification to pursue will depend on numerous factors including an individual’s:
- preferred specialization – varies based on the position or promotion the individual is seeking
- availability – varies based on course or program location and start or end date
- budget – varies based on the individual’s financial situation
- accessibility – varies based on geographic location, internet connection, or computer access
Before choosing a certification, it is therefore important to research the desired IT role or technical writing position to ensure the course or program helps fulfill the job requirements. It can also be useful to research similar roles and responsibilities to learn which certifications or skills provide candidates with a competitive advantage.
Recommended IT Certifications
Individuals seeking a career or employment in technical writing might be interested in earning a technical communication or technical writing certification. Many colleges, online and in-person, offer these certifications. One of the most well-known ones is offered by tekom, Europe’s largest association for technical communication. The eight-month online training (7 hours a week) was designed for working professionals and leads to the “Technical Communicator (tekom)” certificate, which is recognized internationally.
Technical writing certifications communicate one’s understanding of professional writing, but additional certifications are often needed for specific IT roles. Listed below are certifications that can further aid IT technical writers with job specific training and experience.
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate – Coursera offers this online IT certificate for beginners seeking a foundation in customer service and support, software and hardware knowledge, and information on systems such as Linux.
- ITIL 4 Foundation – The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) 4 Foundation certification introduces beginners to a set of practices for creating, delivering, and improving IT services and products. AXELOS also offers advanced ITIL certifications for individuals seeking leadership opportunities within service management.
- Certified Scrum Master – Individuals seeking a position as a Scrum Master will embrace a people and process-oriented role with team management responsibilities. Scrum is a framework that helps guide teamwork, improve processes, and manage projects.
Additional certifications are offered on training sites such as Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera. Google offers courses through Coursera to provide career professionals with industry qualifications in IT support, data analytics, project management, and user experience design. The prices and course length vary based on the chosen certification.
Before investing time and money on a certification, remember to conduct research on the qualifications needed for a specific role. Job listing platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed list available positions and up to date expectations for technical writers within the IT field. A few minutes of research can help you explore new opportunities and can help you determine if the IT field is right for you as a technical writer.
If you want to learn more about technical writing, don’t forget to check out the TCLoc Master’s blog.
About the author
Madison Brown is currently studying Technical Writing at Louisiana Tech University. She is in her final year of her undergraduate degree and plans to pursue a career and continuing education in technical writing. To further the discussion of IT certifications for technical writers, use LinkedIn and contact Madison or interact with the blog post.