English Paper on The Scope of Technical Writing/Communication

I define technical writing (TW) as a specialized, objective sub-discipline of writing that offers explanation, instruction, and direction to individuals for specific purposes. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) classifies it as any writing that is either technical in nature or involves technology as part of its communication process. Additionally, it is also the process of gathering information from professionals and presenting it in an easily absorbable form (www.stc.org).

Though I did not expect the definitions to be vastly different, it was heartening to note that my definition of the concept did not stray from the official definition. One of the key ideas gained is that technical writing enables as a user-centered approach to providing essential information from resource providers in a manner that can be easily absorbed and used. It enhanced my understanding of the concept because it classifies the various kinds of technical writing and the specific purposes they serve.

Miles Kimball, in his article, “The Golden Age of Technical Communication”, marks a distinction between the discipline and profession of technical writing. The discipline refers to the various academic programs that train students in specific aspects of technical writing. The profession of technical writing refers to the workspace prospects and job opportunities that require knowledge of the discipline. The distinction between the two is significant because workspaces are increasingly dependent on technology and technical knowledge. The need for the discipline has therefore grown exponentially and is being met by increasing number of academic programs across the country. The prominence of the profession though, has dwindled in the recent past, as indicated by the decrease in membership in professional organizations (333). This has led to a gross mismatch of the increasing number of trained individuals and decreasing number of opportunities caused by the fluid nature of the profession.


Today, most professions require its members to engage in technical communication on a daily basis.  Since technical writing is not restricted to only those with a certified degree, its possibilities have expanded. This can be seen especially in the authorship on the internet, which has enabled a large number of individuals to utilize a wide range of technologies without corporate owned-technical documentation (Kimball 340). This does not invalidate the existence of either the discipline or the profession. It is prudent to be capable of technical communication since users need one another to navigate the technological complexities that have slowly become a part of human communication. Hence there is a need to expand the skills and techniques of technical writing to make it relevant to current jobs in various fields (352). It is necessary to incorporate it into academic programs of all disciplines, in order to make the learners “better tactical technical communicators” (348), irrespective of their fields.

There is a clear connection between the audience analysis reading and the first assignment in that both identify technical writing as designed for educating and informing. Kimball recommends that technical communication programs should seek to continually train students while expanding the scope of its use in varied professional workspaces. It offers learners the ability to analyze rhetorical situations and apply technology in communicating effectively to a diverse range of audiences. Additionally, the need for professional technical communicators is on the rise in most modern agencies, corporations, and organizations. It is therefore of utmost importance to understand this need and expand its scope to suit different professions.



Kimball, Miles A. “The Golden Age of Technical Communication.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, vol. 47, no. 3, 2017, pp. 330-358, Sage Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0047281616641927.