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Academic Writing Vs Technical Writing – What Is Harder?
Academic writing is relatively complex because most of the academic papers are tied to a specific discipline or study area. Unlike many would think, this type of writing is done in the business and computer sector also, and today these are the two main sectors for academic writing. Scholarly articles and textbooks in either of these sectors will contain a lot of detail. Each technical area will have specialized terminologies that are not known to a normal person.
Technical writing is closely related to the description of a product. The main strategy followed in technical writing is to clearly explain the steps to accomplish the task in such a way that any person will be able to do it. Technical writing mainly consists of user manual preparation that contains detailed working and properties of an equipment or product. Other types of technical writings include business letters, memos, product descriptions, warning labels and, to some extent, editorial letters.
Comparison between academic writing and technical writing
There are very important differences between academic and technical writing. A good academic writer may not be a good technical writer and vice versa.
- The purpose of academic writing is to represent the result obtained from one’s academic research. However, in some cases, it is also used to show some one's point of view about a topic. The purpose of technical writing is to describe the working of a product or steps involved in a process.
- The targeted audience is different in both cases. Academic papers are often read by research scholars or academic professionals who are interested in that particular area. Technical writing mainly is intended for the normal layman or government inspectors who need to know the task followed by a particular company.
- Academic writing jobs are mainly for professionals who already know the research and academic responsibilities. Academic writers can be expert in a particular domain like physics, mathematics, etc.
- Technical writers are able to convert complex technical terms into simple language that can be understood by all. Technical writers can specialize in a particular area like medical writing, software writing, etc.
How to become a g good academic/technical writer?
For getting technical writing jobs, you need to have excellent writing skills, technical skills and thorough knowledge of current technologies. Analytical thinking is very important for a technical writer. Excellent command over the English language is an added advantage for both technical and academic writers.
For getting academic writing jobs, you need to acquire sound knowledge in a subject area. Understandability of research career is also essential for this. Good subject knowledge and excellent communication skills are very important for an academic writer. Strong proofreading ability is an added advantage for both technical and academic writers, especially for those who are looking for freelance writing jobs.