For many years, companies paid only little attention to technical documentation. Most documentation that was needed when selling a product was written by employees lacking professional knowledge in this field. In most cases, product managers wrote the documentation for their products. Today, this has changed. This is the reason why we offer you a quick guide to getting your technical communicator career started.
In the past couple of years, the thinking in all kinds of industries started shifting. Companies started searching for so-called technical communicators or technical writers to write all kinds of documentation. But what kind of expertise does somebody who wants to get into this field need to be successful? How exactly does one become a technical communicator?
What Is a Technical Communicator?
The short answer is: somebody who writes all sorts of technical documentation. But what exactly is technical documentation? The “European Association for Technical Communication“ or short “tekom” defines technical documentation as: “[…] the process of defining, creating and delivering information products for the safe, efficient and effective use of products (technical systems, software, services).”
Finding the Right Technical Communication Degree
There are multiple ways to gain knowledge and start your career in this field. If you are somebody who just finished school and are now looking to find a suitable career path – great! You have quite a lot of options. There is a variety of bachelor’s programs that can get you into the field of technical communication.
If you are situated in Europe, tekom offers a list on their website containing all bachelor’s programs that are suitable. Of course, you can dive right into your dream job after finishing your bachelor’s degree. But you can also continue learning by starting a master’s program. In addition, Tekom also offers a list with suitable master’s programs.
Whether you are choosing a bachelor’s or a master’s program, keep in mind that even though they all may land you a job in this field, there are also some differences in these programs. Therefore, make sure to take a close look at the curriculum and find a program that suits you and the job you are aspiring to achieve.
If you are still reading, that means that you are either :
- a) fall into the category above and are just starting out with your career
- b) are now regretting that you did not read this blog post sooner.
If you are in the first category, hopefully you have found the answers you were looking for. In case you fall into the second category, keep reading! I promise, there are still plenty of ways to start your career as a technical communicator.
If you thought your future entailed a career in a completely different field and have just now changed your opinion, you are in good company. Technical communication is a field with a lot of career changers. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree (or even a master’s) the easiest way to start your technical communicator career is to choose a master’s program from the list above. If you do not want to go back to being a full-time student, there are even a couple of online programs, such us the TCLoc master’s program offered by the University of Strasbourg.
Do I Need a Degree or Are There Alternatives Like a Technical Writing Certificate?
Depending on your current job description and your previous knowledge, there may be a little shortcut available for you: getting certified as a technical communicator.
Tekom offers a course that can be completed entirely online. In this course, you will learn about all things technical communication – from standards to terminology management. By the end of the course, you will be able to call yourself a technical communicator certified by tekom.
Good to know: The TCLoc master’s program includes a collaboration with tekom. By the end of the program, you will not only hold a master’s degree, but also you will be certified by tekom.
If you enjoyed this quick guide to getting your technical communicator career started and read this blog post, feel free to share it on social media. To get more info about technical communication, reach out to tekom via Twitter, Xing or LinkedIn.