Technical writers need good writing skills and in-depth subject knowledge



Technology vs Science
I am aiming for an MSc in Physics. Can you help me to choose between technical research and scientific research as I am eligible to do so promotion in both areas?
– Harpreet Khurana, Chandigarh

While a scientist asks “why” and researches the answers, an engineer investigates “how” a problem can be solved. In other words, scientists study phenomena while engineers find solutions or improve existing solutions. However, there are often overlaps between science and technology. Scientists often put on an engineer’s hat to work on the practical application of their discoveries; Conversely, when developing technologies, engineers can research new phenomena and thus assume the mantle of a scientist.

While engineering research may overlap with science, it is always conducted with one or more applications in mind. The Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST) is administered for admission to PhD programs in Physics, Theoretical Computer Science, Computational Biology and Neuroscience at the leading research institutes in India such as TIFR, IISc, RRI, ARIES, NISERs, IISERs, PRL and others.
For integrated promotion: BSc in Physics/Mathematics
For regular promotion: MSc in Physics/Applied Physics; BTech/BE/ME/MTech/4-year BS/MCA can also opt for integrated and regular PhD programs at multiple institutes.

Innovative alternatives
Our son who is graduating from class XII and says that he would like to opt for a simple BCom program and take some online courses alongside. We are worried. Is that a right decision?
-Neera Kaushal, Bengaluru

The shift to online learning and shorter programs is a “Netflix moment” for higher education. Traditional college degrees still offer a valuable advantage, but several innovative and legitimate alternatives are emerging. The phrase is now on everyone’s lips, alongside some related terms such as distance learning, remote learning and virtual learning. The diversity of terminology reflects, in part, the many different approaches to online teaching and learning – and, more importantly, the breadth of the student experience that is now being enabled online.

We’re now seeing new learner-centric, collaborative models coming to the fore — including virtual exchanges and distance internships — that are powerful ways to provide global experiences for all students despite physical travel restrictions. With careful selection, some of these courses serve as micro-credentials. They help build specialized skills relevant to today’s job market. And they are increasingly being embraced by employers, educators and individuals alike.

Technical writing skills
I’m a scientist. Although I find science interesting, I don’t think I’m qualified for an MSc or similar academic qualification. Instead, I have good communication skills and enjoy writing. Would technical editing be a good field?
-Deven Jaswal, Indore

Certainly. For the simple reason that almost every product or service we buy – be it computer hardware/software, cars, electronics, medicines, even apps, toys and games – comes with an instruction manual. This can be in the form of a user manual, a maintenance manual, a catalog or assembly instructions, or general product information when shopping online. While this information enables consumers to easily and safely use and maintain products and services, it also protects manufacturers from lawsuits if they fail to explain correct use.

It is the Technical Writer who organizes and presents this information in a simple, logical and user-friendly way that can also be understood by a layperson. The main aim is to simplify the product information and to break down complex processes and unfamiliar technical language into sequential and easily understandable steps – so that there are no communication gaps between developers and users of the product.

Technical Writers are now referred to as technical writers because the job involves much more than writing, namely creating electronic documents, layouts, charts, diagrams, and web content design. Two of the most important requirements for an aspiring technical writer are excellent writing skills and an in-depth knowledge of the product you are writing about. This makes it possible to track this area even for people without a technical background. About 5-10 years later, yours career Path could lead you towards content strategy, content marketing, product management and business analysis. You could lead a content management team in different areas (commercial/technical writing, proposal writing, content marketing) or manage products in publishing or e-learning.

IT job change
I work in an IT company. Sometimes I work 12-14 hours for the same salary. Once we become accustomed to a software tool, we are prompted to learn a new one. What should I do? Go abroad? Switch to a non-tech field? Please advise.
-Anant Vasudevan, Hyderabad

First, check if you are in temporary burnout mode or want to quit your job. The grass always looks greener on the other side! If you’re really interested in programming, then learning new software tools is part of the game. When it comes to salary, try moving to another company with the same profile that will give you a better deal. Or maybe to a quality analyst profile (after mastering the relevant tools). Alternatively, you might consider moving to a product-based company where working hours are more reasonable/fixed.

Also try to figure out why you have to stay in the office for so long – is it the work culture or the endless demands of the client? Or are you rather slow at the task? When you go abroad, decide whether you want to work or study. Then do what is necessary. As for non-tech careers, the possibilities are endless including law, mass communications, digital marketing, fintech, design, tourism, management – some of which may require further study and others accessible via entrance exams such as those for banking are , government jobs etc. I would strongly advise you to use your expertise to move into a related field – so you don’t have to start from scratch.