What Technical Writing Is And Why You Should Care

Technical writing is a form of writing that communicates complex information in a clear, organized way. It is used primarily when writing instructions, manuals, or instructional materials. Technical writers are responsible for developing, editing, and maintaining documents that explain how something works or how to use it properly.

What is Technical Writing? | Writing Genre Fundamentals
Understanding technical writing is crucial for effective communication of complex information.
Technical writing involves clear, concise, and organized presentation of technical concepts.
Proficiency in technical writing can open doors to various industries and career opportunities.
Technical writers contribute to product development by creating user-friendly documentation.
Embracing technical writing can enhance your communication skills and broaden your professional horizons.

What Is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a type of writing that explains how to use a product or service. It’s used by companies to provide instructions for consumers, employees, and suppliers.

You may be thinking: How does this concern me? If you have an interest in technology and are interested in learning more about how it works, technical writing can be useful for you. As someone who wants to better understand the products, he uses every day (or might use one day), knowing more about them can be helpful.

Understanding the nuances of technical writing can be a game-changer for your career. If you’re wondering about the essentials, check out our comprehensive guide on What Is Technical Writing and How Can I Do It? to get started.

Technical Writing Is About Your Audience

Technical writing is about your audience. It’s important to know who your audience is because if you don’t, chances are that the content you produce won’t be very useful. You need to know what they need to know, what they want to know, and what they need to do with whatever it is you’re writing about.

The reason for this? Well, if you want people (the reader) to read and understand your content and also act on it then the reader must understand why he or she should care about reading this particular piece of information.

Technical Writing Is Concise

In English, we use an average of 20 words per sentence. The rest of the world tends to be less wordy: German averages around 12 words per sentence, and French has a reputation for being even more concise than that. So why is it that so much technical writing is so darn wordy?

Technical writers love long sentences. They love them so much they’ll throw two or three in a row without letting you breathe once. Technical writers are also prone to using passive voice and droning on about trivial details.

But there’s good news! You don’t have to do any of these things to write well-constructed technical content! All of those habits make your writing worse and harder for readers (including yourself) to process and understand; 

Harder for search engines like Google to index properly; harder for collaborating teams inside your organization or across departments within your company; harder for managers and executives who have no idea what the heck their employees are talking about half the time (and therefore less likely to assign resources toward improving such content).

Here’s an example: “Our team has been working on this project since 2015.” It sounds pretty straightforward at first glance but when broken down into its parts reveals quite a few problems with clarity: 1) Just how long did they work on this project? 

2) What were they doing during those years? 3) Are we talking months or years here? 4) Shouldn’t there be some sort of punctuation between “2015” and “-.” There should! 

That little hyphen creates confusion rather than clarity because it implies some kind of continuation between two independent clauses separated by space but look again at how many times we’ve used hyphens throughout this piece so far…this one won’t stand out as clearly as it should if we don’t change something else first!”

Embarking on a fulfilling technical writing career is a journey worth enjoying. Discover insights and tips in our article, How to Build a Technical Writing Career You Can Enjoy, to pave your way to success.

Technical Writing Is Objective

Technical writing is objective. This means you’re not allowed to use subjective terms or opinions in your writing.

For example, you should never say “I don’t like this.” Instead, say something like “the website page has been redesigned and now looks different.”

Another way to be objective is by using the third person instead of the first person (“we” and “us” are usually okay). It may also help to think about how someone else would talk about your subject matter if they were describing it over coffee with friends this will help keep a sense of objectivity in mind as well as make sure that no one feels offended by any language used!

Technical Writing Uses A Formal Tone

Technical writing uses a formal tone. The tone is not overly formal or informal, subjective or objective, emotional or detached. It’s a seamless blend of all these attributes that allows it to be simultaneously accessible and authoritative.

If you’re an experienced technical writer, you’ve probably come across this situation before: You have a great idea for an article about your favorite topic but when you write it up, as usual, it just doesn’t sound right. Or worse yet: 

Your boss has read through the draft and now thinks he sounds like an idiot in front of his team members whenever he talks about this subject!

Technical Writing Structures Ideas In A Clear, Logical Order

The structure of a technical document is important. It should help readers follow the argument and the flow of ideas, but also make those ideas easy to read.

To achieve this, there are three structures commonly used in technical writing:

The standard format is an outline structure that begins with an introduction paragraph describing what you’ll be talking about in your paper, followed by subtopics as separate paragraphs or lists.

Another popular format is called “linking,” where each new idea connects directly to its predecessor using transitional words like “furthermore” or “however.” 

This style can be helpful when you’re working with multiple points that need referencing back and forth for comparison purposes. The linking method also makes it easier for readers who may skip around within your document they can see which parts still need completion without having to re-read everything from start to finish.

Finally, some writers choose a hybrid approach between these two methods by combining elements from both formats into one document.

For example, they might start with an outline structure but then switch over halfway through into linking mode so as not only to encourage readers’ focus on key points but also provide them with better context for how those points relate together overall!

Creating effective technical documentation requires the right tools. Dive into our resource on The Tools I Use to Write Technical Documentation to explore the essential instruments for crafting clear and concise content.

Technical Writing Uses Visuals

The most important part of technical writing is the visuals. Visuals can be used to help readers understand what you’re saying and make your writing easy to follow. The key here is not to use too many visuals, as that can be confusing for your reader. 

Instead, use just enough to get the point across and make sure they’re clear and readable. You should also consider what device your reader will be reading on (for example, if someone is reading this article on a mobile phone then there isn’t much space for large images).

There are two main types of visuals: graphs and tables. A graph visually shows data in a way that makes it easier for people to understand the information being presented; however, graphs can often be harder to read because they contain more information than tables do-so don’t get carried away! 

Tables are great if you want something simple but effective; these tend to include headings at the top which make it easier for readers who may not know what everything means yet such as ‘who’, ‘what’ etc.

Technical Writing Uses The Active Voice

In technical writing, you should always use an active voice. Active sentences are more direct and concise. They give your audience a sense of what’s happening, as well as when and where it happened. Use the passive voice sparingly; when you do use it, make sure that your point is more important than the person or thing doing something else. For example:

In this sentence, “This blog post is about technical writing” is probably more important than “I wrote this blog post.”“`

Technical Writing Uses Third Person

Technical writing is written in the third person. This means that you write from the perspective of an outside observer looking at the product or process. For example, “Your computer will now restart itself.”

The third person is more objective and formal than the first person, which uses I and my as your pronouns (e.g., “I am setting up this website”). 

It’s also more impersonal than the second person (you) because it keeps you out of the story. Without being able to use the second person, technical writers have more freedom to describe processes without feeling like they’re talking directly to their readers.

Starting your journey as a real estate writer can be challenging yet rewarding. Learn from experience with our guide, How I Got My Real Estate Writing Career Off the Ground, and get inspired to take your writing to new heights.

Technical Writing Avoids Jargon And Slang

Your audience will be more receptive to your message if you use words they understand, so avoid technical terms unless they’re necessary. For example, “choose” is a word that most people will understand. 

On the other hand, “decide” may be confusing for some readers if it’s not used in its proper context (e.g., as opposed to selecting an option from a dropdown menu).

Most technical documents are written for non-technical people but some are written for other technical audiences! You’ll want to make sure your document is clear and easy to read regardless of who’s reading it

Technical Writing Is Accessible To Readers With Different Levels Of Knowledge

Technical writing is written in plain English. It’s often called “plain language,” or “accessible communication.” 

This is important because it means that the writer uses words that most people understand, and doesn’t use complicated sentence structures or long paragraphs to get his/her point across. Technical writers are also careful not to use terminology that could confuse their readers (unless they’re already experts).

Technical writers know how to write for different audiences and purposes:

Why-Why-often explain why a certain process or technology works the way it does, and how this might affect other processes within an organization

How-to usually explains how a certain process works, what tools are needed to carry out this process successfully, etc.

Information, provide facts about something; lists of steps involved with carrying out some procedure

Why Does Technical Writing Matter?

Technical writing is an important skill for every person to learn. If you’re just starting your career and want to become a technical writer, it’s important to understand how the field works and what sets technical writers apart from other types of writers.

Technical writers are responsible for creating content that informs users about how the software works. This includes how-to guides, tutorials, manuals, and training materials. Some tech writers even specialize in creating online help systems or user interfaces (UI).

The Tech Industry’s Growth Is Fast-Paced, So The Demand For Technical Writers Will Only Increase With Time

As the tech industry grows and diversifies, so does its need for technical writers. The growth of the tech sector has been nothing short of meteoric, and it’s projected to continue growing at an even faster pace than ever before. 

According to Forbes magazine, the U.S. technology sector is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 9.1% between 2018 and 2022—the highest growth rate among all sectors in America’s economy since 1999. This means that by 2022, the country’s technology industry will be worth $2.2 trillion!

Learning Technical Communication Skills Can Improve Your Effectiveness In Other Kinds Of Work, Too

Here are some ways that technical writing skills can help you in your career:

Technical writers are often visual communicators, and this skill is transferable to other industries. If you like to draw or doodle, consider a career as a graphic designer or illustrator. You can also use these skills to improve your presentations at work or school.

Technical writing builds problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will help you solve problems on the job, too. If you’re having trouble getting along with coworkers, look for ways to apply your reasoning and problem-solving skills by coming up with solutions for how best for everyone involved. 

This way, instead of just complaining about things that bother you (or worse yet blaming others), try finding ways around those issues rather than simply dealing with them passively by ignoring them altogether (which isn’t possible). It might seem like an extra step now but it’ll pay off in the long run!

Tech Companies Are Creating Products That Can Change The World And You Could Be A Part Of That Process!

So, what does technical writing look like? What is it? How is it related to the products you know and love?

In short: technical writers take the ideas of product designers and engineers and turn them into a form that people can understand. When you’re reading an instruction manual or an article about how to use an app, there’s a good chance that someone like me wrote it. 

We help companies make their products user-friendly by writing clear instructions, training materials, and other documentation. This work makes their products more accessible to people who have never used them before-which brings us back to our original question: what are some examples of relevant tech companies out there right now?

Transitioning from writing for experts to engaging a broader audience requires a unique approach. Uncover valuable insights in our article, How to Transition from Writing for Experts to Writing for Everyone, and master the art of communication across different levels of expertise.

Start Learning Technical Communication Skills And You Could End Up Being Part Of The Team That Changes The World!

Technical writing is a skill set that can be applied to many fields. As a technical writer, you will help people understand how to use products and services in new ways, or how to work with technology. 

You’ll write stories about the people who use your products, tell customers what they need to know about using them, and make sure those stories are accessible to everyone.

Technical communication skills can take you anywhere! If you want to advance your career or get it started in the first place, start learning technical communication skills now! And remember: if you want great results from your writing projects and life always ask yourself “How can I make this better?”


Technical writing sounds like an intimidating and complex topic, but it doesn’t have to be. As we’ve seen, there are many different types of technical writing and many ways to use the skills you already have to make your work more effective. All that’s left is for you to get started!

Further Reading

The Importance of Setting Goals in Technical Writing: Learn how setting clear goals can enhance your technical writing skills and career progression.

Mastering the Art of Technical Writing: Explore essential techniques and strategies for becoming a proficient technical writer.

Exploring the World of Technical Writing: Delve into the realm of technical writing, its significance, and how it contributes to effective communication.


What are the key skills required for technical writing?

Technical writing demands a combination of skills such as clarity in communication, attention to detail, research ability, and proficiency in using relevant tools and technologies.

How does technical writing differ from other forms of writing?

Unlike creative writing, technical writing focuses on conveying complex information in a clear, concise, and organized manner, often involving manuals, guides, and documentation.

What industries commonly require technical writing?

Technical writing is crucial across various industries including technology, healthcare, engineering, and software development, where clear communication of technical concepts is essential.

What tools can assist in technical writing?

Technical writers often use tools like content management systems, documentation platforms, and collaborative software to streamline the writing process and manage documentation effectively.

How does technical writing contribute to product development?

In product development, technical writing plays a vital role by providing user manuals, guides, and documentation that help users understand and utilize products efficiently.