Question 1. What Do You Know About The Job Role Of A Technical Writer?
Apart from writing a technical writer performs the following roles and responsibilities:
- Learn about the product and analyze data to get knowledge about the product.
- Interview Subject Matter Experts on regular basis, to learn more about the product.
- Explain technical concepts with the help of diagrams; make illustrations and other visuals for a better understanding of the concept.
- Prepare video tutorials.
- Prepare a set of instructions to help people use software and hardware applications.
- Create e-learning courses.
- Create how-to articles to increase the awareness about the technology and product. This promotes the use of technology and product.
- Passing on the feedback to the product team obtained through usability testing, training or other user immersion. This helps in improving the product.
Question 2. What Are The Different Tools Used By A Technical Writer?
There are many tools and software’s which help the technical writers to create error-free documents. They help the writers to create documents in different formats and provide easy edit and customization facilities. These software ensure that the content is unique.
Here are some of the commonly used software packages:
- Adobe RoboHelp – It helps to create interactive content in multiple formats.
- WordPress – This helps the writers if they are looking to have technical documentation of their product in the form of blogs.
- Notepad++ – To learn the basics of HTML programming.
- Microsoft Visio – This is a popular diagramming tool which helps the writers to create flow charts, software designs, electrical circuit diagram, etc.
- Powtoon – Technical writers need to be creative. This tool helps the writers to create animated videos which help to capture user attention in an engaging way.
- MadCap Flare – This is another help authoring tool that enables the technical writers to personalize the content and it also allows repurposing as per the audience.
- Windows Snipping tool – This tool enables the writers with screen capture options.
- Camtasia – This software helps the readers to create, record and edit videos.
Question 3. What Are The Important Skills Required To Be A Technical Writer?
In order to be a successful technical writer the skills required are as follows:
- Clear and Concise Writing Skills
- Ability to quickly understand the technology
- Knowledge of tools that help in producing various kinds of documents.
- Interviewing skills to extract the required information from the SMEs
- Excellent listening skills to capture the right information.
- Effective designing skills to produce good graphics and illustration skills.
- Testing skills to ensure that the product works as documented
Question 4. What Are The Best Practices Followed By Efficient Technical Writers?
Here are some of the best practices followed by effective writers:
- They plan the scope of their content to prevent straying.
- They believe in researching the topic/ product/ technology well.
- They always rewrite to reach the final draft.
- They understand and agree with what they write.
- They are open to feedback and suggestions & do not take criticism personally
- Successful technical writers ask for help, if needed. They don’t shy from asking relevant questions.
Question 5. What Are The Basic Principles A Technical Writer Should Always Bear In Mind?
Some of the important principles that a writer needs to bear in mind are:
- Be open to feedback and suggestions from readers.
- Test all the instructions you have provided in the content.
- Focus on content. Avoid getting stuck up with publication.
- Have a mix of content and visual in your document. Flow charts, graphs, illustrations, screenshot, etc. help a lot.
- Always try to give examples to explain complicated concepts.
- Technology is always evolving. Keep yourself updated.
Question 6. Why Do You Choose To Be A Technical Writer?
“I choose to be a technical writer as I love technology as well as writing. This profession allows me to do something useful and helpful through my writings.It has also deepened my interest in technology. The opportunities I get to interact with SMEs is something I really enjoy. “
Question 7. How Do You Plan And Prioritize Your Work?
“It is extremely easy for a writer to get strayed and realize later that what they have written is out of the scope of the project. I always scope my project well based on the readers and what I’m targeting with that particular content. Based on this scoping, I draw and over all schedule and break it into a daily to do list, as first thing in the morning. I then prioritize the task and work as per the schedule. I ensure that I do not get distracted by distractions such as mobile phones. Efficient time management helps me to improve my productivity.”
Question 8. How Do You Keep Yourself Updated With The Industry News And New Trends?
“I am an avid reader. I love reading Tech blogs on regular basis. I allow myself at least half an hour to read these blogs on a daily basis. I have even subscribed to a few mailing lists from where I receive emails about the new trends and changes happening in this industry. I also follow tech bloggers account on Twitter.
I also like to have a conversation with my colleagues during the break time where we discuss about the new technology and its implications.
These regular efforts help me stay updated with the latest developments.”
Question 9. Tell Me About A Time When You Received A Negative Feedback At Work?
“Once when I just joined work I was given a topic to write an article, my senior was not quite happy with the end result. Though I wasn’t used to negative feedback but I was convinced that it was for my good. He pointed a few ways which could improve the content. I took that as a learning opportunity. Though criticism adds a bit of stress, I don’t let it affect my work. I take it as a learning opportunity and it motivates me to perform better.”
Question 10. What Are The Challenges Faced By The Technical Writer At Work?
As a technical writer, you will have to face certain challenges at work. Some of them are as follows:
- Knowing the audience and their knowledge level at times becomes very difficult for the writer.
- The SMEs may not have the time to explain to the documentation team about the product or process. This makes it difficult for the writers to get the correct information.
- Also, SMEs find it difficult to review and provide feedback on the document.
- Sometimes writers find it difficult to incorporate the suggestions received from various sources which lead to personality clashes.
- Very little or no information about the product or service makes the work of the technical writer more difficult.
- Limited access to the product or service
- Computer or software issues.
- Last minute changes make the writers work more challenging.
- Short deadline makes it difficult for the writer to deliver quality work.
Question 11. What Is Your Approach To Research On A Certain Topic?
“Whenever I get a new topic I dedicate some time to visit a few reliable websites to get some accurate information. I also refer blogs written on that topic. I also consult SMEs of that subject and try and get more information from them.”
Question 12. What Is Collaborative Writing And What Does A Collaborative Writing Plan Include?
As the name suggests collaborative writing refers to writing a document collectively with a group of people rather than writing the document alone.
The collaborative writing plan should include the following:
- Explanation of the final project.
- Outline of the content.
- Assignment of responsibilities of content.
- Schedule for finishing the assigned part.
- Editing Strategy
- Reviewing Strategy
- Production information.
Question 13. Are You Ready To Change Your Own Thinking With End Users Feedback?
“I have a good independent thinking ability but I am also open to feedback, negative as well as positive. A feedback helps me to understand what has been done correctly and what can be improved. It is a valuable information which helps me to build and maintain communication with the end users. It helps me to improve my documents and make them more user friendly”.
Question 14. Explain Sdlc And Ddlc ?
SDLC – Software Development Life Cycle is a software development process. It is a framework which explains the tasks performed at each step of the software development process. It gives a detailed plan for the development, maintenance and replacement of specific software.
DDLC – Document Development Life Cycle is a documentation process which goes through the software development process. DDLC is a process that helps to maintain, design, develop, edit and publish a document for the product development lifecycle.
Question 15. What Is Topic-based Authoring?
Topic-based authoring is a modular approach to writing, where you write a text containing one or two paragraphs on one topic. These topics can be combined to create a page in a PDF document and also can be organized to create an online Help system. They are reusable topics across the different document and can be published in different media. This approach helps the technical writer to write more clearly as each topic is mostly about a specific subject and has a recognizable cause or purpose.
Question 16. What Steps Do You Follow When You Interview The Sme’s?
Some of the steps to follow are:
Set your objective or goal for the interview. Let the SME know about your goal for the interview and ask him/her if it’s achievable in the allotted time. This approach lets both parties know what is to be accomplished.
- Check what you already know. This will save you a lot of time. Take the time to read on the topic before meeting the SME. Check if there is any existing material. Do not just go for the interview without preparing yourself.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask and organize them in a meaningful sequence.
- Plan for the interview. The above steps will prepare the writer for the interview.
- Now you need to identify who is the best person for the interview, how much time would you need for the interview, do you need approval or do you need to set an appointment. The writer needs to plan the interview by asking these questions to himself.
- The next step is to conduct the interview and take notes. It is very important to introduce yourself and let the expert know your purpose/goal for the interview. Let him or her know why you have selected him for the interview. At the end, thank the SME for the time and also let him know that you will review your notes and you may have follow-up questions. Ask them how would they like to communicate with you, through email or phone call?
- It is always a good to send a follow up email or a call to thank the SME and to let them know the result.
- The SMEs can be reached if you need any clarification on something or if you can’t remember in what context he/she gave that example for. Most of the time the SMEs act as a reviewer of the final product.
Question 17. What Is The Difference Between Active Voice And Passive Voice?
- Active Voice- describes sentence where the subject performs the action as stated by the verb.
- Passive Voice- the subject undergoes the action of the verb.
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