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Careers for Humanities Majors: Technical Writing

“Technical writing” is writing that sets forth instructions, explains a process, or communicates important information. It is different from writing that argues, persuades, or advocates. If you have enjoyed explaining to your grandparents how Spotify works, or writing down an idiot-proof version of your favorite stir-fry recipe, or creating an easy-to-follow procedure for members of your RSO, you might find satisfaction in a technical writing career. Many different fields and industries require technical writers. Some qualities that characterize a good technical writer:

  • The ability to write clearly and concisely.
  • Close attention to detail.
  • People skills: the ability to function as part of a team, interview subject-matter experts, and listen to end-users.
  • A talent for breaking a big idea down into component parts.
  • The capacity to learn new subject matter quickly.

Getting a full-time position as a technical writer generally requires experience, as demonstrated through writing samples. Alumnus Mike Slavin, now a technical writer for Sailpoint, offers some advice on creating a technical writing portfolio here.

Here are some ways to get technical writing experience:

Interested, but not sure how to get started? Make an appointment at the HPRC. We can help connect you to alumni for advice and mentoring, give you help getting your writing samples together, and suggest some next steps.