Technical Writing in 2024

Writing Business Technical Writing Tips

Technical writing has the potential of being a very different career path in 2024 than it has in years prior. For a new technical writer, this means readying for quick pivots as the industry adapts to a new wave of technology.

In this post, we'll examine some of the ways technical writing is about to change in 2024.

Generative AI

For one, the advancement of generative AI (artificial intelligence) has created an explosion of artificially-generated content writing to subjects from technical tutorials to breaking news stories. Technical writing itself hasn't been hit quite as hard as blogging, news, or evergreen tutorials.

This doesn't mean things aren't changing. Writers can lean on artificial intelligence to craft outlines and generate a basic foundation on which they can craft a more refined draft. AI serves as a digital intern, doing the repetitive groundwork while the writer focuses on expanding and perfecting the content.

Eventually, AI will catch up to technical writers. It will be able to read the codebase and interpret functionality to craft basic documentation with minimal context added by humans.

That day is not today, thankfully.

Economic Headwinds

Many economists are predicting a period of economic turmoil ahead. This is due to a decades-long period of growth and inflation, interrupted briefly by the COVID-19 pandemic and shift in economic philosophies governing several major world powers.

This has resulted in a lot of large enterprises downsizing and performing large-scale reductions in force in order to be better prepared to meet the potential downturn. Technical writers, unfortunately, are not immune to these actions.

Just a few years ago, finding a job in the technical writing field was relatively easy. Today, landing a good job as a technical writer is certainly possible, but your portfolio and work experience needs to stand out from the crowd.

If you're brand new to technical writing, consider volunteer writing for some open source projects on GitHub. Open a website and craft tutorials there that you can add to your portfolio while earning a little extra income from ad revenue or affiliate links through Google or Amazon.

This will give you a bit of experience to start from, making landing a decent technical writing job much easier.

An Abundance of Great Examples

One thing I love about the current state of documentation is how many great examples exist in the wild right now. Technical writing was a niche career choice a decade ago when I started, and beyond owners manuals and a few standout tech companies, good documentation was relatively rare.

Today, technical writing has become a big career choice for creative writers looking to pay the bills while scratching their technical itch. Here are some excellent examples of documentation you can use to inspire your next developers portal or user guide:

  • Microsoft - Very few companies out there have the longevity or scale of Microsoft. For decades, Microsoft's documentation has been one of the gold standard setters for developer documentation.
  • Slack - As a company founded on open communication, it just made sense that Slack ended up crafting some of the most well-written and clear documentation in the industry.
  • Stripe - When it comes to API documentation, Stripe is the one name that appears near the top of every "best of" list out there. Stripe is an exceptional example of documentation done well.
  • MailChimp - Brilliant tutorials, clear resources, and video content abundant throughout the documentation makes MailChimp one of the best in the business.

2024 is Going to Be Wild

2024 is set to be another huge year for technical writers. The boon of artificial intelligence and virtual reality products hitting the market right now means there is no shortage of new technologies that consumers, developers, and enterprises will need to learn and understand. Technical writers sit at the heart of the customer education experience.

Whether you're a brand new technical writer or an experienced veteran, this year is going to be a wild ride of challenges, triumphs, and opportunities to take your writing to a new level.

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