Hello, dear tech writing newbie.

Not that you asked, but I’m writing this post to let you know that, if I were you, I would pick whatever technology you seem to like and go build something with it.

Why? Mostly, because as a tech writer you will be producing content to help people build stuff. And to really understand their pain, you should first try to be a builder yourself.

In doing that, you will probably come across documentation that will drive you mad. You will soon find yourself banging your head against the keyboard after realizing that a simple task that took you three hours to complete was actually unnecessary. You will read an article that tells you how to use a method to call an API and then test the deploy by using a Continuous Integration tool and then in the next half hour, you will find yourself browsing ten other articles across the web trying to learn what’s a method, an API, a deploy and a Continuous Integration tool.

This will all be quite frustrating at the beginning because you will read a lot and do very little. You will probably tell yourself that this might not be for you; that there’s too much out there and you’re too old to start learning now; that everyone else has figured out the ins and outs of digital technology and you’ve missed the boat. Too late, what a shame.

Well, live through that. It’s the hard part. I guarantee that at some point you will start connecting the dots. And that’s when things get fun.

And in the process of reaching fun, you will have consumed a lot of good and bad documentation; complete and incomplete tutorials; well-organized and badly-organized developer docs. Wearing the shoes of your audience, you’ll have become much more prepared to work as a technical writer.

Need an idea?

If you’ll be working with the web, HTML, CSS, and basic JavaScript are the go-to skills you’ll want to pursue in the beginning.

So why don’t you create a personal blog for yourself using Jekyll? (Oh boy, I love Jekyll.) It simplifies a lot of things for you while still leaving room to play with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. You will also find the need to deal with the command line and with markdown. It may seem a lot at first, but these are all useful skills for a tech writer. Take your time and prioritize exploration over delivery. If you find yourself inside a loop of creating one incomplete project after another (been there), even better. The learning that comes with this doing -> destroying -> iterating is priceless.