Studies & Degrees in Technical Communication
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Authorities define Technical Communication as the process of conveying technical information through writing, speech and other media to a specific audience. This technical information usually refers to engineering, production, and research and development information associated with design, production, operation, use or maintenance of an equipment, machines, process or system. More often it is considered as a professional task for which organizations hire professional employees, or outsource their needs to communication companies in order to facilitate the communication or conveyance of ideas and concepts to the intended audience and in some instances, to direct the audience in a particular course of action.
Technical Communication has ripened through the years. From the time following World War I, when the need arose for technology-based documentation in certain industries and establishments, it has become a responsibility that professionals must employ to effectively convey technical information to clients and various audiences. Associations were also established in some countries to improve the practice of technical communication.
As a course of study, Technical Communication is offered in many colleges and universities to help fill the increasing demand for educated and trained technical communicators by public and private agencies and organizations and business firms. Students can earn master’s and undergraduate degrees and certificates from these institutions under their respective Technical Communication programs to prepare them for employment in the fields of science, high-technology or business, or as technical communicators such as writers, editors, or documentation specialists in various work places.
Some courses of study involve technical writing and communication that focuses on the steps of the writing process, such as the determination of the purpose and audience, information gathering, information organization and outlining, writing the draft, and revision and editing of the said draft. The other areas involved in the courses are technical and professional editing, information design, business communication, visual information, ethics, global communication, report writing, information literacy, technical writing style, and communication with new technologies. Other institutions teach students to gain an understanding of communication media, technical and expository writing, desktop publishing, verbal communication, and a chosen technical specialty.
While, in some cases, students can put to use their knowledge in Technical Communication to writing laboratory reports, professionals can apply it in business letters and memoranda, personnel performance services, activity and product evaluations, feasibility reports, engineering and scientific analyzes, and research reports.
Graduates of Technical Communication programs can look forward to landing jobs rated as the best in some countries, such as technical writer, technical editor, technical illustrator, information architect, technical trainer, and technical translator. Workers in the technical writing field, according to surveys, are expected to increase by 20% between the years 2006 and 2016. But of course, other vacancies in the field will also be available for graduates specially trained in biomedical writing, computer industry writing like web content writing and blogging, and scientific communication writing.