You might think that taking up technical courses can help you avoid any writing tasks in the near future.
Technical courses, such as engineering and computer science, are never exempt from writing. In fact, those enrolled in them will likely be doing a lot of writing too, except they’ll consist of a different set of assignments, compared to literature or history class.
What kinds of writing assignments should you look forward to in such technical classes?
- Project reports
- Journal articles and conference papers
- Technical manuals
- Research papers
- Executive summaries
- Lab notebook assignments
Yep, that’s a lot. Just goes to show, no matter what field you’re in, writing will likely be a part of your duties. Kind of makes sense to invest in that all-purpose writing software now, doesn’t it?
Certain qualities are valued more highly in technical writing than others, such as clarity, conciseness, completeness, straightforwardness of language and appropriate use of visuals (tables, figures, charts). Make sure you prioritize them over other elements in your technical documents.
Here are some tips to aid you when filling out technical writing assignments:
- State your introduction, thesis and conclusion as clearly as possible. Give them multiple passes to make sure they won’t be misinterpreted.
- Follow standard conventions when using charts, figures and tables.
- Follow standard conventions for the use of appendices. They’re usually important in many longer papers.
- Be aware of limitations in general-purpose writing tools. If you’re going to spend a lot of time doing technical writing, you might want to invest in a technical writing program.