Technical Writing in Computer Science: An Ultimate Guide
As a computer science student, you will be aware that writing is an important aspect of your course. Many engineering and science degrees actually fail to recognize the importance of writing. One of the reasons for this could be that students who study technical subjects such as computer science may struggle with writing compared to those who study arts and humanities and therefore use essay writing sites and services such as AdvancedWriters for professional academic assistance. However, technical writing is a skill that’s incredibly valued and it’s a skill that’s important for those who wish to work in the tech industry. Technical writing is not simply about getting to grips with technical language and recording this in a document, instead, to be successful at technical writing you need to be able to process a high level of information and present it in a way that’s suitable for a particular audience. Below we will provide you with some tips on how to improve technical writing if you are a computer science student and also outline the process involved in technical language as well as the best practices to undertake.
#1. Technical language explained
Technical language can be defined as any of the below:
- Instructions which tell us how to do something irrespective of how technical the task maybe.
- Communication that uses social media pages, web pages, or technology.
- Communication-related to specific or technical subjects such as medical procedures, environmental guidelines, or computer applications.
The style of technical language
Technical language has a neutral style which is very direct and clear. Any information that is provided needs to be displayed in an accessible way, whilst remaining professional.
The purpose of technical language
Technical language is used when information needs to be displayed in a text format. The purpose of the text is to explain the information and guide the audience to be able to use and apply the information. Technical writing is on the increase, simply because of the hi-tech lives that we live today.
#2. The process of technical writing
When it comes to technical writing for your computer science course, it can take as much time to plan and review what needs to be written, as the actual writing itself. If you plan what you want to write in advance, your writing process will be much more effective. When it’s time to review your technical writing, it is important to make sure that your writing is accurate and can be accessed by different audiences. Before you begin to write anything technical for your computer science course, here are some important steps that you need to follow. Below we will provide you with an ultimate guide on how to create your technical writing for your computer science course.
Once you are fully aware of what your technical writing request is and you know your target audience, you can begin to plan your document. The first step is to create a mind map where you can include a range of information and are able to see this visually before you begin. By creating a mind map you’ll be able to see the areas that you are comfortable with and those areas that may require more research.
Once you have created your mind map you need to understand what technical document you are creating. Below is a list of the type of technical documentation that can be created:
- Technical reports
- Handbooks and guides
- Technical manuals
- Technical proposals
#3. Writing Style
Now that you are ready to write, you need to be sure that your style of writing is appropriate for a document that will be technical.
Appropriate word usage
When choosing appropriate words for technical writing, you need to think carefully and pick the words that suit the context. Your aim is to make your writing precise and easy to understand. Try to avoid using pronouns such as ‘this’ and ‘it.’
Use of active voice
As opposed to the passive voice, the active voice is easier to understand and read. Therefore, always choose the active voice if it’s possible. Below is an example for you to look at:
- Active Voice: A nurse checks your blood pressure at the doctor’s surgery every month.
- Passive Voice: Blood pressure is checked at the doctor’s surgery by a nurse every month.
As a technical writer, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of using jargon. The issue with using jargon is that it will confuse your audience as somebody who is not an expert in your field may not understand the jargon used in your field. So, for this reason, avoid using jargon unless you are targeting a particular audience. If you need to use technical terms or terms that may be unfamiliar, you need to define the term when you first use it in your document. If you use any abbreviations then write out the term in full first and follow this by the abbreviation in brackets.
Instead of: The WWF is a registered charity in England….
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a registered charity in England.
To make sure your reader understands which information is the most important, always put this information in the main cause. Make sure your sentences are concise and remove any unnecessary words which affect the sentence from being brief. Remember that technical writing needs to be clear and to the point, so avoid using complex sentences.
Once you have reviewed your piece of technical writing you should ask someone else to review it for you. For instance, ask a friend or a teacher. Usually, there is a review cycle to follow i.e. the first draft, the revised draft, and the completed draft. The review process is extremely valuable to you as it will help you to continue to improve your technical writing. Remember that writing is a process and the review and editing parts are not an afterthought and should be ongoing aspects that you include as part of your technical writing.