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By Richard Troiano

Knowledge is power, knowledge shared is power multiplied Robert Noyce Intel Co-Founder Granted 15 patents on various semiconductor technologies that make our current technological world possible.

Presentation Notes
This entire presentation and supporting documents are available via Scribd. Please visit the following URL:
http://tinyurl.com/TechWritingTalk Some of the linked documents in this presentation are encrypted. If you encounter a link to an encrypted PDF, use the password twtalk

About Me
Parents were nerds..
ITT Graduate in 2003 (CEET) Linux user since 2001

Former employee of HP, Apple, Intel, PG&E, Pick N Pull,

Sunrise Telecom and even ITT Tech. CompTIA A+ Certified Desktop Support, Web Designer, Jr Network Admin, Sr Network Admin, Project Specialist, System Administrator, Technical Writer.

What is Technical Writing?


Technical writing is a form of technical communication used in a

variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Technical writing involves analysis of a document's intended audience in order to translate complex technical concepts and instructions into a series of comprehensible steps that enable users to perform a specific task in a specific way. To present appropriate information, writers must understand the audience and their goals. For example, an audience of highly trained scientists will require less explanation of technical terms than a help guide intended for general audiences.

How did I get into Technical Writing?


Known as a go to guy for technical issues most of my life. Background was primarily technical support. PG&E SAP Update was pushed out without proper testing. 20,000 PG&E employees started to call the service desk at the same time. SAP issue had two different fixes depending on which OS the end user was on (XP or 2000). After discovering that there were two different ways to approach the issue at hand, I sent out an email to my coworkers explaining how to fix the issue based on what operating system the caller was using. Afterward my supervisor offered me a position as a technical writer. No more answering phones and a pay raise.

Examples of Technical Writing in Everyday Life


Nearly every electronic device produced has some sort of documentation included with the original purchase.
Tablets Laptops Motherboard Manuals Electronic Data Sheets

Audience
The intended audience determines the amount of detail to include.

Developers, Engineers, Hackers, Technical Professionals get lots of detail.


Schematics Diagrams Data Sheets MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheets) Code Examples Screenshots (when applicable)

Management
Only give what they ask for, anything additional will confuse/bewilder management. In most cases, management will have no idea what they are reading.

General Public
Do not be too wordy Direct and to the point. No additional details if not needed to follow the instructions. Pictures tell a thousand words.

Technical Writing Process


When you look at any document, you never get to see the process the writer used to develop the text into the final product. The writing process is often divided into 5 stages.

Stage
Prewriting Drafting Revision

Description
Defining the scope, audience and organization of the document. Involves meeting with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), process owners, supervisors, engineers or whomever has the information you need in order to begin the next stage. Creating the basic document structure (paragraphs, words, lists, tables) based on whatever information was given to you in the Prewriting Stage. Completing any missing or unidentified content leftover from the Drafting stage. This might require setting up meetings with groups or individuals identified in the Prewriting Stage. Involves meeting with all affected groups/individuals to ensure that the document has correct information that is understood by the intended audience. The proofreading stage feeds back into the Revision stage several times until the document is complete and ready to be published. Distribution (print, electronic) of the final product. SharePoint, Word Doc, PDF, HTML or Printed Manual are common forms of publishing a final document.

Proofreading

Publishing

Pros and Cons


Pros Always learning new things. Much higher pay rate than most other jobs in Information Technology. Makes transition between jobs much easier since your skill set is varied. Not much competition due to limited number of candidates. Lots of opportunities available. Much less stress than a job that is strictly Information Technology based. Hardware perks are a huge plus. Easy way to get your name published in a print book or referenced online. Companies that use the ITIL framework need Technical Writers for the Service Catalog, Technical Service Catalog and Service Knowledge Management System.

Pros and Cons


Cons Technical Writing is not for everyone. Documentation is usually not high on the priority list for most large corporations. It might be needed, but whatever you are documenting is usually much more important than the document itself. Feedback on your work is minimal (at best), which can be tough considering the amount of time it takes to produce larger documents. Most people usually have no idea what you actually do until they have the opportunity to see the end result of your work. Occasionally you have to write about things that you are not interested in, but are very complex and detailed. Resume Typecasting

Technical Writing Tools


Microsoft Office Word (document creation) Excel (charts/graphs) Power Point (presentations) Visio (diagrams) Project (project management) SharePoint (document management) Adobe InDesign CS6 (document layout) Acrobat Professional (PDF creation) Photoshop CS6 (raster graphics) Illustrator CS6 (vector graphics) Live Cycle Designer (editable PDFs) Creative Cloud Suite Frame maker (document layout) RoboHelp (HTML help system) Captivate (presentations)

Other Tools Madcap Flare (Single Source Help System) HTML / CSS Notepad++ Regular Expressions Understanding of basic software development environments (Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc) Batch files/PowerShell Scripting SVN Git SnagIT Camtasia Studio IIS & Apache Configuration

Types of Documents
Here are a few examples of the types of documents I have written over the years. How Tos Xerox Network Attached Printer Doc Manuals Sunrise Telecom RxT 10GigE Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) PWA Accept Time Articles PG&E TSC Internal Newsletter Style Guides Sutter Health Style Guide

Work Examples
Using FileZilla with ExaVault Overview
Sunrise Telecom RxT 10GE Field Unit Manual Adding Shared Printers to IRS Laptops

Importing Remedy Macros Between Versions


ISO 9001 Company Template Business PC Support Network Virtualization Diagram Business PC Support Thecus 4100 Pro NAS Instructions

Questions and Answers?

The End
Thank You!