14 Best technical writing courses for clear and precise communication
According to Indeed.com, technical writing is a ‘process of making complicated information more accessible in the form of reports, product descriptions or instruction manuals’. Courses on technical writing are not just for writers, as it is an inherent part of a wide range of industries, including medicine, engineering, and teaching.
In this article, you will get a tour of the best technical writing courses online. Once you’ve selected and completed the best one for you, you’ll easily simplify sentences from “Diuretics alleviate peripheral oedema” to “Swollen ankles? Try a water pill!”
Technical Writing Courses Online – Overview
Being a technical writer means you possess a complex skill set that is highly sought after. AI is encroaching on many aspects of a person’s work. Nevertheless, the intricate knowledge of human beings who work in highly specialized fields remains critical to the effective communication of ideas and information.
For technical writers, their prospects for the foreseeable future are bright. University of Washington’s technical writing course homepage boasts 19% projected job growth for technical writers in Washington State over this decade. It also puts the average technical writer’s salary at just over $80K.
Similarly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that technical writing jobs will grow an estimated 11% through 2026, which equates to 5,700 extra jobs. Others report salaries of as high as $70K a year, with top earners bringing in over $100K in major west coast cities.
With entry-level technical writers earning an average of around $45K a year, a course in technical writing is a sound investment, as you’ll need to cultivate advanced grammar and research skills, as well as the ability to draft a variety of documents. You can upskill in this complex and useful area of expertise through a range of online courses. Let’s dive in!
Best Technical Writing Courses Online 2024 – Top Picks
|Technical Writer HQ
|Certification in TW
Note: This list aims to give an overview of the best technical writing courses online but cannot cover all as there are many other online classes available.
1. Technical Communication Specialization – University of Colorado Boulder, Coursera
Coursera’s Technical Communication Specialization (visit website) will equip professionals with essential writing skills and also focuses on important soft skills like listening, non-verbal communication, mentoring, and building trust. With engineering leaders in mind, this course aims to help professionals excel in their communication responsibilities.
It also helps learners become effective at making compelling presentations and counts as academic credit toward CU Boulder’s Master of Engineering in Engineering Management (ME-EM). In the capstone project, students have opportunities to converse with real people, putting their learning into practice and reflecting on the techniques learned.
This 3-course specialization offers ‘Communication as a Technical Leader’, ‘Technical Managerial Written Skills’, and ‘Speaking to a Technical Group’ as a built-in public speaking class. If you are in the field of engineering or computer science, this could be one of the best technical writing courses online to develop your career skills further.
2. Communication Skills for Engineers Specialization – Rice University, Coursera
In Coursera’s Communication Skills for Engineers Specialization (visit website), Rice offers engineers a chance to build a toolkit of communication skills that will give them the knowledge and confidence to be effective engineering leaders.
More specifically, the specialization tackles communication strategies for complex ideas, professional and persuasive presentations, pitches, and speeches, and technical project plans. Bear in mind that learners are required to purchase a case study to complete the course for a small supplemental fee.
Taught by professors from the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership, the courses cover oral communication, interpersonal communication, and writing. As the specialization is geared toward helping engineers prepare for career advancement, it also includes applied learning projects that help consolidate their learning.
3. Professional Technical Writing – Pro Writer, Udemy
Get your feet wet in Udemy’s beginner-friendly Professional Technical Writing course (visit website), designed for students and professionals alike. Pro Writer guides you in creating your first technical document by applying the principles and techniques of technical writing, all you need is a Windows OS, Microsoft Word, and Excel.
In addition to writing skills, the course teaches editing techniques, the components of a document, how to draft a project plan, and how to use tables, images, and flowcharts. This course is geared toward writers and other professionals looking to lean into technical writing. If you’re not satisfied with the course, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Anthropologist and communication strategist Dr. Katharina Grimm brings you this Skillshare Technical Writing Course for Beginners (visit website). She teaches beginners how to create high-quality technical documents, as well as the skills they need to become great technical writers.
The course takes beginners through the writing process, providing a good overview of the skill set required to be effective in technical writing. It is particularly beneficial for writers who are on the fence about whether to invest or possibly specialize in this skill.
While it claims to be geared toward people working in the tech industry, it looks rather elementary and learners may not find it as thorough as some o the other best technical writing courses mentioned on this list.
5. Learn API Technical Writing: JSON and XML for Writers – Udemy
Peter Gruenbaum founded the Learn API Technical Writing: JSON and XML for Writers course on Udemy (visit website) for those who want to learn how to use APIs to write API documentation. This skill, for which the marketplace has a strong need, is useful when working with the two most popular structured data formats.
There are hands-on exercises, quizzes, and PowerPoint presentations to teach you the API basics. You’ll also get sample data files to practice building and documenting JSON and XML files while learning about useful software tools.
Learners need a text editor (Notepad++ or Atom) and Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, or any other word-processing software to follow this specialist course. Note that, although no prior programming experience is required, you’ll need to have some experience writing end-user documentation.
6. Technical Writing Essentials – Alison
BCampus offers this free Technical Writing Essentials course on Alison. In this fully self-guided course, BCcampus lays down the basics of technical writing – what it is, why it is important, and its characteristics. It aims to help you create technical descriptions, instruction manuals, and other documents in the most appropriate format and structure.
It then moves into rhetorical appeals and research-related skills. From time to time, the course will prompt you to search the internet for additional resources. If you are self-motivated and a good time manager, you may get a lot out of this info-packed course.
Platform: Alison | Course Publisher: BCcampus OpenEd
Level: Beginners | Price: Free | Certificate: Yes
Tip: Explore our lists of the best business courses, or project management courses, or AI essay writers, or writing courses, or business writing courses, or creative writing courses to expand your skills in the field of business and writing.
7. Certified Technical Writer – Technical Writer HQ
Technical Writer HQ offers a Certified Technical Writer certificate course for aspiring tech writers who wish to learn the fundamentals of technical writing, how to create great documents, and how to land a technical job by standing out in the recruitment process.
Learners gain the necessary skills to lead writing teams and guide technical documentation projects. It even touches on how to get a higher salary as a technical writer and offers downloadable templates. A live instructor reviews and provides feedback on your capstone project, which learners complete at the end of the course.
Platform: Technical Writer HQ | Duration: 10 weeks. 4 hours/week.
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $299 | Certificate: Yes
8. Technical Writing Course – Premium Version – CherryLeaf
CherryLeaf offers this instructor-reviewed Technical Writing Course on the Teachable platform.
After covering the basics in the first of five sections, you’ll tackle single-sourcing and content reuse, followed by software documentation project management. What’s special about this course is that it’s modern, as it hones in on the new trends in technical writing.
CherryLeaf also shows you how to create images, including screenshots, to illustrate user guides. For a more interactive experience, you can email your completed exercises to the folks at CherryLeaf for feedback and guidance. Once you pass all the assessments, you’ll get a shiny certificate to add to your resume!
Platform: CherryLeaf | Style: Pre-recorded videos
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $499 | Certificate: Yes
9. Technical Writing Course + Training – Learning Tree International
Over 4 days, Learning Tree will teach you how to plan, write, and edit a wide range of technical documents, manuals, and white papers in their foundation Technical Writing Course + Training, which you can take online or in person.
In this course, you’ll cover the basics of technical writing and develop them further through training on the three levels of information, sentence construction, editing, and document design. As such, you’ll be in a much better place to produce higher-quality documents.
This course, if taken in person, allows you to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). However, even if you complete it online, you’ll earn 23 PMI Project Management Professional PDUs (Professional Development Units).
Platform: Learning Tree | Style: Instructor-led | Duration: 4 days
Level: Beginners | Price: Various packages. From $2,990
10. Advanced Technical Writing – University of Wisconsin
Do you already have some experience in technical writing? Take your skills to a higher level with the University of Wisconsin’s Advanced Technical Writing course. It aims to give you the edge you need to win more lucrative work as a technical writer.
Topics covered in this course include research techniques, document organization, and visual elements. If you are in a specialized field, these will certainly put you in line for a promotion. More specifically, you’ll journey through all the stages of technical writing, from planning and revising as you work to completing a comprehensive proposal.
Show off your new-found understanding of advanced technical writing by submitting a proposal that incorporates all stages of writing. Upon completion, you’ll be able to use content, design, and style guidelines to produce a more readable, concise document.
Platform: University of Wisconsin | Contact Hours: 30
Level: Beginners | Price: $335 | Certificate: Yes
11. Technical Writing Certificate Online – Oregon State University
This comprehensive Technical Writing Certificate Online course takes you from the first to the final draft of your technical document and is geared toward writers and technical professionals that need stronger writing skills. With UX design in mind, instruction covers writing style, document layout, and technical editing.
As part of this course, you’ll cover manuals, user-centered design, SOPs and flowcharts, single-sourcing and methodology, and portfolio creation.
If you’re not sure whether you’ve accumulated enough experience for this course, you can always take the precursor Introduction to Technical Writing course, which is free and self-paced. However, if you have some experience under your belt, you can dive straight in!
Platform: Oregon State University | Style: Asynchronous | Duration: 160 hours
Level: Beginners | Price: From $499 | Certificate: Yes | Info: View.
12. Technical Writing Online Certificate – University of Illinois
The University of Illinois offers this Technical Writing Online Certificate course to help you master technical writing skills and build a robust portfolio that showcases this highly marketable skill. One of its main aims is to teach you to develop research methods that are effective and considerate of the needs and abilities of your audience.
Further, the course gets you to incorporate clarity and utility into your analyses, memos, and reports. Teaching covers the code of conduct, the Communication Triangle, the seven principles of good writing, and the writing process more generally. Luckily, there are no prerequisites required for this course.
Platform: Illinois Springfield | Instructor: Lynn Atkinson | Duration: 6 months
Level: Beginners | Price: $2,195 | Certificate: Yes. | Info: View.
13. Certificate in Professional Technical Writing – University of Washington
The Certificate in Professional Technical Writing is another power course in technical communication offered by the University of Washington. A stacked curriculum covers the fundamentals of user-centered and visually pleasing design, software help, usability testing, layout ideas, and publication forms.
Additionally, you’ll learn about the role of style and structure in technical communication and design strategies for various document types. Although the course is online, it is not entirely self-paced as students also have the option to attend in person.
Unlike other courses on this list, prerequisites include a degree, prior experience, and familiarity with specific software. Be mindful that you’ll also need to be able to commit 7-9 hours of your time per week for 8 months. On the bright side, you may apply for a scholarship if the fee is out of your range.
Platform: University of Washington | Style: Professional Certificate Course
Duration: 8 months | Price: $3,975 | Certificate: Yes. | Info: View.
14. Free Technical Writing Courses for Engineers – Google
Google brings you a collection of courses that are much more relaxed than those run by universities. These free classes are targeted at computer science students and professionals, as well as people in engineering-adjacent roles, such as product managers.
The aim is to provide fun and valuable training with online pre-class material and live virtual sessions guided by volunteer instructors. Novices can start out with ‘Technical Writing One’, while those with more experience in technical writing can take ‘Technical Writing Two’ or ‘Tech Writing for Accessibility’.
Of course, you’ll need a Google account with access to Google Docs and Google Meet. Before starting, consider the fine print in the ‘Facilitators’ section of the course’s homepage: “As these volunteers are not Google employees, Google can’t accept any responsibility for false or misleading statements made during these public classes.”
Provider: Google | Platform: Google Meet | For: Engineers
Level: Beginners | Price: Free. | Info: View.
How to Choose the Best Technical Writing Courses Online
Now that we’ve done a tour of the best technical writing courses online, here’s what you should consider when choosing which online technical writing course to take:
1. Your profession. Some technical writing courses are for professionals who want to build skills in this niche, while others are for technical professionals in engineering, ICT, and medicine.
2. Your experience level. As technical writing covers a wide variety of uses, beginners’ courses for technical writing vary just as much. For example, some cover much more elementary material (e.g. the definition of technical writing and why it is useful). Others are for highly skilled professionals who need to improve their writing skills to be more effective in their day jobs.
3. Your budget/commitment level. These go hand in hand for obvious reasons, but this combination can also help narrow down your options. Some free technical writing online courses require a higher level of commitment because they call for independent research, while some low-cost premium courses can be a bit shallow.
Looking at course previews and carefully scanning through description pages, modules, target students, and other details will be key for shortlisting and eventually selecting and picking the best technical writing courses online.
Best Technical Writing Courses Online 2024 – Summary
Wrapping up our tour of the best technical writing courses online in 2024. Options for technical writing online courses abound, but there are definite ways to narrow down your choice. Continuing and Professional Education certificate courses offered by universities can be pricey but promise to set you up for success.
On the other end of the spectrum, free courses can offer a strong introduction to the craft. That said, these latter offerings will probably only get you so far you’ll need to invest more if you’re serious. It appears that, in this particular discipline, as far as online technical writing courses go, you get what you pay for.
Best Technical Writing Courses Online 2024
- Technical Communication – University of Colorado Boulder
- Communication Skills for Engineers – Rice University
- Professional Technical Writing – Pro Writer
- Skillshare’s Technical Writing for Beginners
- Udemy’s Learn API Technical Writing
- Technical Writing Essentials by Alison
- Technical Writer HQ’s Certified Technical Writer
- CherryLeaf’s Technical Writing Course – Premium Version
- Technical Writing Training – Learning Tree International
- Advanced Technical Writing – University of Wisconsin
- Technical Writing Certificate Online – Oregon State University
- Technical Writing Online Certificate – University of Illinois
- Certificate in Professional Technical Writing – University of Washington
- Free Technical Writing Courses for Engineers – Google
Other Technical Writing Courses Online
- Technical Writing Tutorial for Beginners by Henry Harvin – YouTube – View
- Technical Report Writing for Engineers – University of Sheffield, FutureLearn
- So You Want to Be a Technical Writer – Society for Technical Communication
- Writing White Papers – LinkedIn Learning
- MadCap Flare Advanced Training – MadCap Software
- Technical Writing Course – Emphasis
- Technical Writing: A-Z – LinkedIn Learning
- Advanced Technical Writing and Editing – Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – Coursera
- Write Professional Emails and Memos – edX
- Technical Writing Certification – Michigan State University
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online – Resource
- TechWhirl Online Community – Resource
- The Society for Technical Communication (STC) -Resource
Technical Writing – FAQs
By learning the fundamentals of technical writing, honing essential skills, and gaining practical experience, you can pave the way for a successful career in technical writing. Remember that technical writing involves a commitment to clear communication, precision, and user-centricity, and continuous growth is key to excelling in this field. Here are some common questions and answers.
1. What is technical writing, and what do technical writers do?
Technical writing is clear communication of complex technical information. Technical writers create documents, manuals, and guides to help users understand and use products, processes, or technologies.
2. What skills are essential for becoming a successful technical writer?
Essential skills include strong writing, grammar, research abilities, logical organization, and proficiency in authoring and documentation software.
3. How do to start a career in technical writing?
Start your education with a certification or an online course in technical writing or related fields, build a portfolio of writing samples, network with professionals, and seek internships or freelance opportunities.
4. What industries and sectors require technical writers?
Technical writers are needed in technology, software development, healthcare, engineering, finance, and government, working on various documentation needs.
5. How can I improve my technical writing skills over time?
Continuous learning through reading technical documents and style guides, seeking feedback, attending workshops, and practicing regularly helps refine technical writing skills.
What are the best technical writing courses online for 2024, in your view? Which online programs have you taken? What have you learned? Please let us know in the comments below, or contact us via email for questions.