Technical Writing: FAQs

Technical Writing Certificate of Completion (Online)

Course Descriptions, Schedule/Costs | FAQs


Courses

Are the courses you teach fully online?

Yes; there is no on-campus attendance.

Are the classes you teach self-paced?

No. There are weekly assignments and due dates.

Is the program open to International Students?

Yes.

Can I take the Information Design course and the Advanced Technical Communication course at the same time or take the Information Design course first?

No. The Information Design course depends on what is learned in the Advanced course. However, I allow students to take the Advanced Technical Communications course before the Intro course or at the same time. Remember to get your certificate, you must take all the courses required.

What should I do to get started before class?

We recommend getting a LinkedIn account and research job boards. Ask yourself ‘What fields do I want to work in?’  Learn how to use word processing software (just the basics).

Remember technical writing is a bit different than other types of writing and you can work in a lot of different fields. The best thing you can do is explore what area you want to work in and see the requirements.

Is there a scheduled video conference or webinar I need to watch?

No, the classes are asynchronous (there are no required class meeting times). All material is accessed via our Blackboard LMS.

What software do I need for your classes?

Any word processing software is fine, however we only accept the following formats: PDF, RTF, DOC, DOCX. If your word processor can make those files, then great!

Tip: there are free PDF generators on the web for Windows and Mac platforms; they are located in the print menu. A presentation is required in the Advanced Course, so PowerPoint is fine (filetypes: .ppt & .pptx) but not necessary; it can be done in Word or handed in as a PDF from your favorite slide program. We focus on writing for various audiences and technical writing itself so the focus is not on learning software.

Do we work on portfolio pieces in class?

Yes.

What type of portfolio pieces do your students work on?

 See the video on what is covered in the classes we teach.

Career Information

What is the job market like in tech writing and who uses tech writers?

Automotive, software, hardware, manufacturing, safety, municipal projects, entertainment, aviation, the mortgage industry, utilities, food, universities, research, chemical non-profit, medical devices to name a few.

Do a job search on LinkedIn and you’ll see. There are many other job boards available as well where you can look.

What do I need to look for a job in tech writing?

A certificate – employers will generally ask for one in technical writing or technical communication – another term for technical writing, so a certificate is highly recommended.

  1. A portfolio (we create pieces for it in the Advanced & Information Design class) because potential employers will ask to see one (this is common practice)
  2. A resume – any past experience is relevant because it generally can be applied to a particular field, even if you are fresh out of college you have been writing
  3. The ability to learn software like Microsoft Office, Visio, Photoshop etc. and know the basics of a desktop computer
  4. That LinkedIn account we recommended; start building your network by joining our Technical Writing Group on LinkedIn

These are the basics. We talk more about the importance of portfolio in class.

I don’t know software programming & principles of high-tech, can I still get work as a tech writer?

Yes. Many fields hire tech writers including aviation, medical devices, mortgage industry, automotive, food, process industry, utilities, entertainment, universities, research, etc. Today technical writing can also fall under other titles such as business analyst, communications specialist etc.

What is STC?

The Society for Technical Communicators

They have a wonderful job board and they can give you salary info.