Course Name
So You Want to be a Technical Writer!

Contact Hours: 24

Course Description
This 6-week course will introduce you to technical writing as a career. You`ll gain an understanding of what technical writers do, where they work, the skills they need and the tools they use. You`ll learn about job trends and salaries. And you`ll have the opportunity to interact with technical communicators who will be happy to answer your questions about the profession. In addition, you`ll complete a series of short projects that will help you to assess
  • Whether you are well-suited to life as a technical writer and whether direct employment, freelancing, or contract technical writing are good options for you.
  • What attributes and skills you currently possess and which ones you need to develop to be marketable.
  • What jobs and salaries are available in your area or in a region you wish to work.
As a final project, students will create a marketing plan to market themselves as a technical writers. In addition to readings and individual assignments, students will interact with each other and the instructor through discussion message boards and optional online chats.

Students will also receive a weekly mailing containing the best World Wide Web sites where they can explore information about technical writing careers or related issues. Working with Kathryn Roosa, each student will focus on the areas most applicable to their level of experience, chosen field, and future plans for a technical writing career. Assignments consist of several projects that will involve research, analysis and discussion.

Each project will culminate in a short, written report to the instructor. Throughout the course students will receive in-depth feedback from the instructor on assignments and may discuss any issues related to technical writing with the instructor and with other students using the discussion boards.

  • The student demonstrates his or her understanding of technical writing as a career field.
  • The student demonstrates understanding of trends and requirements within the technical writing field and feels confident of his/her ability to meet the challenges of this dynamic field.
  • The student demonstrates understanding of the tools and skills required by technical writers in the particular type of job for which he or she will be applying.
  • The student demonstrates the ability to creat and carry out a plan to successfully market himself/herself to employers of technical writers.

Assessment will be based on the instructor`s evaluation of a series of well written documents that...

  • Identify the student`s needs, values, and goals and explain how technical writing as a career fits in with the lives he or she wants to create for themselves.
  • Clearly define the type of technical writing position the student will be seeking and its requirements.
  • Identify their strengths and weaknesses as a candidate for technical writing positions and describe a plan for developing new competencies and maintaining current competencies.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to research the job market.
  • Demonstrate that the student can competently market himself or herself using a combination of resume, internet research, networking, and portfolio.