These 5 communication skills can help you make a move into technical writing

BCIT’s new Technical Communication Essentials Microcredential sharpens skills employers want across roles and sectors.

“Successful organizations rely increasingly on effectively gathering, managing, conveying, and exchanging substantial amounts of information,” explains Nick Fox, BCIT Communication Department Faculty Member.

“Technical communicators ensure that information is clear, coherent, organized, and targeted, so it meets audience needs and business purposes.”

The new microcredential features five instructor-led, online, short courses offered through BCIT Flexible Learning. The courses are asynchronous, so students can study at times that are convenient for them. And the commitment is manageable: each six-week course involves just 3-5 study hours per week.

5 core skills

1. Technical Writing

Clear, concise writing is useful across roles, but it’s essential in a technical environment. Technical writers also know how to select the best style and tone for their purpose.

This course introduces technical writing skills, helping students improve their own writing as well as assess their interest in a potential professional writer career.

2. Technical Editing

Professional writing positions frequently include a technical competency test requirement, which covers principles, symbols, and methods of copyediting and substantive editing. In this short course, students practice their editing skills for the workplace, and fine-tune their understanding of grammar and mechanics.

3. Writing for the Web

“So many of us are writing for the web now, without having any training for it,” explains Nick. “But we know that information on the web isn’t read the same way as in print.”

This course bridges that difference, helping students anticipate the needs of the reader. They practice organizing and structuring information to make it easily absorbed and navigable.

4. Visual Communication and Data Representation

“Selection of colour, typefaces, images, and layout matters when you’re trying to convey complex messages using visual media,” says Nick. “Visual communication is needed across a range of topics, particularly as organizations try to gain insight from a vast amount of data.”

5. Technical Presentations

“We know that effective presentation skills help advance our career and bring positive attention to our projects and ideas,” explains Nick.

Communicators can improve these skills by reviewing sample speeches, performing audience and purpose analysis, and rehearsing effective public speaking techniques. The course allows students to select their own topic, whether it’s relevant to other courses they’re in, an entrepreneurial idea they want to pitch, or a current work project.

Options for future growth

Students who complete the microcredential can ladder directly into the Technical Writing Associate Certificate to continue their professional development and earn a more advanced technical writing qualification.

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