How To Become A Technical Writer Without An English Degree

I’m going to assume you’ve decided that you want to become a technical writer and are wondering how to go about it. This article will lay out some steps you can follow to get there, without having an English degree in English or any other field.

How to break into technical writing with no Computer Science
Pursue alternative paths to a technical writing career without an English degree.
Focus on developing strong writing skills and a comprehensive portfolio.
Highlight transferable skills such as research, organization, and attention to detail.
Explore online courses and resources to learn about technical writing tools and practices.
Network with professionals in the field and seek opportunities for hands-on experience.

Get A Degree In A Technical Field

If you’re looking for a career that combines your love of words with your technical background, consider becoming a technical writer. While this field is typically pursued by those with an English degree, there are still ways to get started without one.

As I mentioned earlier, having a degree in a technical field can help you land a job as a technical writer. However, it isn’t required, and my first real job out of college was as an IT help desk agent where I wrote very little content at all instead of focusing on troubleshooting software issues and solving customer problems over the phone and via email. 

Even though my job didn’t involve writing much content initially, it was still very rewarding! I learned so much about how customers think and what they want when working with them directly day-to-day (like how many times do people ask for their password to be reset?)

If your goal is just getting into the field of IT writing instead of necessarily getting hired at Microsoft (or any other big-name company), don’t worry you probably won’t need an advanced degree anyway! 

Most entry-level positions will require some experience doing tech support or working as an IT specialist before hiring managers consider new applicants who only have passion for writing but lack formal training or experience in this area yet.”

Building a successful career in technical writing doesn’t always require an English degree. If you’re wondering how to embark on this journey, our comprehensive guide on getting started in technical writing will provide you with valuable insights and steps to kickstart your path in this field.

Go Deep Into A Technical Field

If you want to become a technical writer, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. Technical writing is essentially the art of translating complex processes and ideas into language that’s easy for the average person to understand. 

A lot of this involves understanding how things work and how people learn about those things. If you don’t have an interest in the content or process at hand, then there’s no way you’ll be able to effectively communicate it and even if you can, your audience will still likely find themselves confused as they try to follow along.

The best way to become a better technical writer is by going deep into a technical field that interests you: 

Whether that means programming robotics or designing user interfaces (UI), getting into the nitty-gritty details of how something works will help inform everything from how much detail should go into your documentation down to how many words should be used in each sentence.

Build Your Portfolio

While it’s not necessary to have an English degree for technical writing, you do need to be able to write well. The best way to learn how to write is by reading great writing and writing yourself.

To become a better writer, you’ll want to develop a portfolio of your work in the form of sample publications that showcase your writing skills and demonstrate what you’re capable of producing. There are several ways you can get samples published:

Get samples published in industry magazines (e.g., IEEE Spectrum) or on major websites (e.g., Wired). Note that this takes time and effort; don’t expect it all at once!

If there’s nobody who will publish your work right now, consider publishing it on your blog or website this shows potential employers that you know how to market yourself effectively because they’ll see evidence of this marketing strategy firsthand.

When they visit your site later on down the road when they’re looking for new writers who might fit their needs perfectly well enough without having any formal training whatsoever!

As a technical writer, there might be times when you run out of writing ideas. Don’t worry, it’s a common challenge. Learn about effective strategies in our article about what technical writers need to do if they run out of things to write about to overcome this hurdle and keep your writing momentum.

Join User Groups And Attend Their Meetings

As your technical writing career progresses, you’ll have ample opportunities to network with other writers. Whether you’re presenting at a conference, joining a user group meeting, or attending an annual industry event like the Write The Docs Conference, these are all excellent ways to meet other technical writers and build contacts in the field.

But even before reaching these stages of your career, there are plenty of ways to connect with others who share your interests and knowledge base. For example:

Join a local user group or start one yourself! There are plenty of communities that host meetings where both professionals and novices can share their experiences. 

This will allow you to hear what others in the field have learned about technical writing as well as get feedback on how people perceive your skillset and style. You might also discover someone there who has expertise in areas where you could use some extra help; For example, if they’ve written extensively about UX design but haven’t yet tackled documentation (or vice versa), then working together could be mutually beneficial!

Write A Technical Blog

If you have the chance to write about something you are passionate about, take it! You’ll be more likely to produce high-quality content that your audience will find useful and interesting.

That said, if writing about something you’re passionate about is difficult (because there just isn’t enough information out there), consider writing about an area where you are an expert instead. 

It’s important to note that while expertise helps in this respect, it doesn’t mean that having expertise means everything else won’t apply: topics must still be relevant and interesting for the audience; 

They don’t have to necessarily be directly related to what it is you do for work but rather things that happen around it such as how people use technology or why they make certain decisions when buying new products/services etc).

When choosing a topic for your blog post or article (or even just tweeting), think about who would find this information valuable. What kind of person do I want to read my stuff? 

If someone comes across my Twitter feed will they think “wow this guy knows what he’s talking about” or “uh oh maybe this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about

The world of technical writing is full of lessons and discoveries. To gain some valuable insights from a seasoned writer, take a look at the top 10 things our author learned about technical writing in their journey, as shared in Top 10 Things I Learned About Technical Writing.

Write For Wikipedia, The Web, And Open Source Projects

The next step is to start writing. And where better to do that than Wikipedia? You can contribute to open source projects, write for blogs, write for technical journals and magazines, write books and online courses the list goes on.

If you’re a technical writer who does not have an English degree but wants to break into the industry anyway, there are plenty of opportunities available for you! Follow these tips and your career will take off in no time.

Learn To Write Good API Documentation

API documentation is a form of technical writing that explains how to use an API. If you’ve ever read the README file for a piece of software, you’ve seen API documentation in action. 

The README files are written as an introduction to the program and its features, with enough detail that you can get up and running without asking for help from another programmer who can explain things in more detail.

API documentation should be clear and easy to read, whether it’s written in English or another language because most API writers write their documents first in their native tongue and then translate them into other languages if necessary.

Contribute Code To Open Source Software Projects

If you have the technical skills, building open-source software is a great way to brush up on your programming. It’s also a great way to get noticed by potential employers, as they often look at open source contributions when evaluating candidates.

If you don’t have any coding experience, now is the perfect time to begin learning! You can start with free online courses or books like Learn Python The Hard Way or Head First Python.

Learn To Apply The Basic Principles Of Effective Writing To Technical Writing Scenarios

Use active voice. Active voice is when the subject of a sentence acts as the verb (e.g., “Snakes eat mice”). When you use passive voice, it’s easy to lose track of who did what and when (e.g., “Mice are eaten by snakes”).

Keep sentences short. It’s tempting to write long sentences with lots of clauses that can make your meaning difficult to understand if you’re not careful about how they’re constructed and even more difficult if readers don’t have enough context for you to explain why two clauses should be connected in a way that makes sense for them as well as for you! 

If there are things that need explaining but don’t fit into one sentence, consider breaking them out into separate paragraphs or sections instead (see below).

Use short paragraphs and lists whenever possible they make reading easier! Also, try bolding some words inside the paragraph itself; this helps draw attention without making everything else look too busy or overwhelming on screen/page sizes where reading isn’t easy due to either lack of time or eye strain caused by poor lighting conditions at work/home.

If you’re aspiring to become a technical writer, there are certain steps and considerations to keep in mind. Discover the key factors you should know in our article on what to do if you want to be a technical writer, providing valuable advice to set you on the right path toward your goal.

Learn What It Takes To Write And Publish A Book In Your Area Of Expertise

You need to be able to write a book. To do so, you will need:

  • A publisher
  • An editor
  • A cover designer
  • A good title (which should stand out)

A good cover image that represents your book well and draws the reader’s attention to it without being too cheesy or overused (for example, don’t use a picture of yourself on the front.)

Descriptions for each chapter in your book should be short but effective at grabbing people’s attention and making them want more info about what happens next when they start reading your content online (or buying copies through Amazon/Barnes & Noble). 

This information can be included on every single page of each chapter’s webpage before downloading its PDF file(s). 

It should also mention some keywords related to whatever topic was touched upon in that particular passage such as “how-to” or “technical writing guide.” The goal here is not only to provide readers with necessary information upfront but also to give them an idea about what they’ll learn later on down this pathway towards becoming successful writers themselves!

Become An Expert At Documenting Apis, Design Documents And Use Cases, Testing And Automation

Another way to gain experience is to create a portfolio and start networking. The goal of your portfolio is to show what you have already done, so it should include both technical writing examples as well as other types of writing. 

The best way to do this is by creating a website or blog. You can then share the URL with anyone who seems interested in your work, which will help them see how much you know about the topic at hand and build trust in your ability as an expert on the subject matter.

Creating this sort of platform for yourself will also help others find out about you when they need help with documentation or writing projects, which could lead them into hiring you for those jobs!

You Can Become A Successful Tech Writer Without Having An English Degree

You can become a successful tech writer without having an English degree, but you should have a technical background. If you don’t have the right degree, then spend your time learning about the field and building relationships with people who work in it.

You need to understand how they do things and what they value because that is what’s going to get you hired as a tech writer your ability to communicate effectively with people in the field and understand their needs.

Get deep into a technical field, which means getting involved with user groups and attending meetings regularly so that your knowledge base expands beyond just what’s on Wikipedia.

Writing is a craft that thrives on continuous improvement and exploration. Our collection of ideas, advice, and observations about writing encompasses various aspects of the writing process, offering valuable insights that can help you refine your skills and approach to technical writing.


If you want to break into the technical writing world, you don’t need an English degree. All you need is a passion for learning about technology and how it works, plus the willingness to put in some hard work. With these skills under your belt, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert writer in no time at all!

Further Reading

How to Become a Writer Without a Degree: Explore alternative paths to a writing career without a formal degree.

Becoming a Technical Writer: Discover insights and strategies for becoming a successful technical writer.

Guide on How to Become a Technical Writer: A comprehensive guide on the steps and skills needed to pursue a career as a technical writer.


How can I become a writer without a degree?

While a degree can be beneficial, there are alternative paths to becoming a writer. Focus on building a strong portfolio, networking, and honing your writing skills through practice and continuous learning.

What skills are essential for a technical writing career?

Technical writing requires strong communication, research, and organization skills. Proficiency in understanding complex subjects and translating them into clear, user-friendly content is crucial.

Do I need a technical background to become a technical writer?

While a technical background can be helpful, it’s not always required. Many successful technical writers come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, using their ability to learn and adapt quickly to understand technical subjects.

How do I transition into a technical writing career?

If you’re transitioning from another field, highlight transferable skills such as research, communication, and attention to detail. Consider taking courses or workshops to familiarize yourself with technical writing tools and practices.

What resources are available for aspiring technical writers?

There are various online courses, blogs, and communities dedicated to technical writing. These resources provide valuable insights, tips, and advice to help you navigate the technical writing landscape and develop your skills.