Why Study Technical Writing
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs in technical writing and related fields will increase at a faster rate (job outlook for 2020-2030 is almost 12% faster than average) than most jobs in any field. Professional and technical writing is a career for people who enjoy writing, problem solving, using technology, and interacting with subject-matter experts and those who use technology. By learning the skills involved in professional writing courses, students can become more effective communicators—they will connect better with their audience; analyze data and infographics more effectively; improve their revision and editing skills; expand their online and library research skills regarding primary and secondary texts; prepare various types of documentation; design effective training and marketing materials; learn the fundamentals of desktop publishing; and enhance their professional rhetoric and writing style for a variety of end users.
A student who enjoys writing to communicate with readers should consider the professional writing concentration. Interests in technology, rhetoric, design, and computers are key for success. Job openings in professional and technical writing are most common in parts of the country with high-tech industry like California, Texas, and the Northeast, but Tennessee employs more technical writers than the national average, and the mean pay for technical writers is over $66,000 in Tennessee. Many of our former students have found successful careers in technical writing/editing/publishing after graduating from Austin Peay. Dr. Wadia can provide names and details.
Our primary technical-writing faculty have over 50-60 years of combined experience teaching, writing, and editing. Dr. Mickey Wadia has been teaching technical writing for over 30-35 years. Dr. David Major has also been teaching these classes for 20-25 years.
Our faculty are well qualified, and they take pride in individualized success for students who show promise. Dr. Major is an important part of our internship opportunities and technical writing for the sciences. Dr. Wadia teaches English 1100 and English 3600 for our students. He frequently presents at large regional conferences (SCMLA, for example) about workplace professionalism and tips for success with employment opportunities as technical writer or editor. He also presents on general tech writing topics as well. He is doing a jobs success presentation on technical writing in Fall 2022 at SCMLA in Memphis, TN.
What will I Learn
- Clear, persuasive writing.
- Document Genres and formats
- Research Skills
- Comprehend the nuances of language and rhetoric in the workplace
- Apply desktop publishing skills to create marketing and PR materials
- Create effective workplace documents such as letters, emails, and memos
- Sharpen their proofreading skills for a goal of zero tolerance in TW documents
- Discern shades of meaning in homonyms and commonly confused words (disinterested vs. uninterested)
- Write effective documentation for training materials and briefing reports
- Edit graphical items and objects
- Writing effective proposals and policies
- Understand effective social media strategies
- Edit closely at the sentence, paragraph, and essay level using a variety of rhetorical techniques and strategies
- Understand how the collaborative writing process has pros and cons
- Understand the glossary of the professional writing industry and English and foreign nomenclature related to technical writing
- Improve their chances of employment after learning good interviewing techniques
- Prepare a good resume and write effective application letters
- Prepare effective oral presentations using PPT and other similar software e.g., Canva