"... I didn't know that being an engineer would require me to be a pretty decent technical writer."
I can recall
during my senior year of high school a friend of mine asked me what would
my intended major be in college. I told her that I was going to major
in engineering. She looked puzzled for a moment then jokingly said,
"So you want to change light bulbs?" At first I thought that was strange,
but I continued to hear similar comments from other individuals. At
the same time of course I knew I wasn't going to be changing light bulbs
for a career, but I didn't know that being an engineer would require me to
be a pretty decent technical writer. I only thought of the hands on
and logical thinking work like constructing buildings and wiring electrical
systems. I never thought of the technical documents that it would require
in order to complete the many tasks done by engineers. I was exposed
to this reality once I enrolled in a technical writing course that
was required for engineering majors.
"...without these skills there will not be sufficient communication."
Many engineers use the principles and theories of
science, engineering, and mathematics to solve technical problems in research
and development, manufacturing, sales, construction, inspection, and maintenance.
With the complexity of their work they also have to be able to solve
problems of format, structure, and style of technical documents in order
to produce readable, logical, and concise material to communicate abstract
ideas and complex data technical and non technical readers. If the
average person can't understand them then their work is basically useless,
resulting in the idea for the job not getting accomplished. That's where
technical writing skills become a must, because without these skills there
will not be sufficient communication.
"...I might not need it in my exact engineering field."
Although I realized the influence that technical writing
had in the engineering field, I still had the small thought in my mind that
said, "Well I might not need it in my exact engineering field." During
my summer break before enrolling in the technical writing course I worked
as an intern student for a government engineering company. During that
time I realized that my supervisors wrote a lot of documents. Because
I was interested in doing more of the hands on projects, so I was rarely
involved with the technical documents. Just for assurance I interviewed
an engineer from my aspiring field. He explained to me that there were
many different types of writing required for his position. Depending
on the requirement of the project he said that he usually writes:
technical project specifications
scopes of work for contractors
Obviously there is no way for
me to get around technical writing so I decided to learn it, and become a
better writer. Your field may not be engineering, but technical writing
maybe that unspoken field that is much needed for you to be successful in