Careers in Tech Writing
Thinking of becoming a professional technical writer?
Ethics and Tech Writing
A style guide presents the rules for citing sources and deals with such tricky questions as "When do you spell out a number instead of using a digit?"
Technical Writing Manuals
A good technical writing book will focus on reader-based writing--that is, the book will talk about how to analyze your readers and produce writing that will meet their information needs. Some other topics commonly covered in technical writing books are computer-based communication (for example, how to write an effective email), proposal writing, instruction manuals, the use of graphics, and effective letter writing.
Does it matter how old the book is? Yes and no. The vehicles for communication have shifted in the past two decades from paper to electronic, and that shift has affected not only the speed at which we can transmit information but also the readers' expectations--readers are expecting briefer, more focused documents, presented in short, direct sentences. But the heart of technical writing--how to figure out what information the reader needs and how best to present it--has not changed. So an older book, if it focuses on the communication process, can be as valuable as, if not more so than, a new book.
Brushing Up on Basic Writing Skills
Although there is a lot of crossover, scientific writing can be quite different, in form as well as content, from technical writing.