should technical writing course be added to the curriculum at college level?

Technical writing refers to a very useful form of writing and communication for projects, lab reports, instructions, diagrams and many other forms of professional writing. This style of writing is geared towards communicating information related to fields such as science and technology. The challenge lies in the ability of the writer to explain the facts about technology or science in the most simplistic and understandable manner. Actually, technical writing is not an easy task for college students. Therefore, I think technical writing course should be added to the curriculum at college level.
As for art students, it is very necessary for them to take technical writing course. Technical writing course teaches students many certain skills like critical thinking, research methodology, technical communication, documentation design and so on. All these skills are pretty helpful in workplace. In addition, art students are able to effectively communicate technical information through this style of writing. They can set the focus for themselves while writing on some unfamiliar subjects such as chemistry, computer technology and physics. This form of writing enables art students to master all sorts of knowledge such as economy and medicine.
In addition, technical writing course can help science students much better at the skill and be able to communicate with other people about what they are doing and how do to something. For example, when automobile engineers need to design engine, they have to do a lot of work which are based on technical documents about automobile engine. So engineers should comprehend and write those documents. If science students have taken technical writing course, they could better understand what task they are going to accomplish and explain to others the outcome of their new design.
The last but not the least, technical writing offers the opportunity to earn a lucrative living. Due to the financial crisis, more and more undergraduates can not find a suitable job with decent salary. On the contrary, technical writers have great opportunity to make a great living at what they do. Many companies are willing to pay top dollar to hire people with excellent writing skills, so undergraduates could make a comfortable or even an absolutely outstanding living by being a technical writer. Therefore, technical writing course can help students make a living for a rainy day. Or some people even can take it as a career.
To sum up, I do think technical writing course should be added to the curriculum at college level. It is really helpful for art students and science students as well as their future career.

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Comment by Richard S. on March 12, 2012 at 5:40pm

I'm not a fan of the idea. I enojy what I do, but if I were required to take a technical writing class when I was in college, I'd have tried hard to find a way around it.

Of course, I went to a public university in California where there's a thick stack of required classes that someone thought it was a good idea for everyone to learn. IMO, one size fits all rarely does. 

Comment by echo zhang on March 14, 2012 at 1:11am

I am a college student. And my major is translation (between chinese and english).we are required to learn the technical writing. But i find that it is really hard. Actually, what I have posted is my first assignment.  

Comment by Richard S. on March 14, 2012 at 1:28am

It's a good first assignment. :-) 

For a translation curriculum, it probably makes sense. It would be fun to compare your required college courses to mine. I wonder how much they would differ. When I went to college, there were a lot of required classes that were politically motivated, these weren't always very useful. 

In my work now, many of the people who read the documents I write are Chinese. We make software for TVs and other electronics products. We do have partners all over the world, but much of the world's electronics manufacturing happens in China, so that's a big part of our audience.

Every time I talk with them or meet our partners, I walk away fully impressed with their English skills, and fully embarrassed at my lack of skill in any Asian language. I've considered taking some classes in Mandarin. Not for translation, but just to be able to communicate a little bit better. It's such a different language though. It's very intimidating. 

When you talk about Chinese translation, is it usually Mandarin? 

Comment by echo zhang on March 18, 2012 at 4:11am

First of all, my major is translation which is either from Chinese to English or from English to Chinese. And the Chinese that we talk refers to Mandarin. It is a kind of  governmental language which differs from dialects. Of course, as an international language, what you have heard is Mandarin.

Secondly, at my college level, I take a lot of classes which include business translation, interpretation, culture tranlastion, technical writing and Frech  and so on. we are committed to going to foreign companies and being translator  or interpreter to help them do transnational business in the future.  In fact, we have a lot of choices.

I think you must have met this kind of colleagues at work.


Comment by Richard S. on March 19, 2012 at 4:56pm

I think you must have met this kind of colleagues at work.

Actually I haven't. Most of the folks I work with are software engineers or electrical engineers who acquired enough English language skills to work with mostly English speaking engineering teams. I can see where such skills would be in high demand though. 

Comment by Simon Sun on December 24, 2012 at 11:08pm

Besides language courses, programming courses shall also be inlcuded. Or, as a minimum, computer science basic courses such as data structure are needed.


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