Technical communications is concerned with explaining technology and science through various forms of communication, including print, video, and digital media, to help people solve problems or accomplish specific tasks. This major is closely related to business communications, which is concerned with the practice and management of communications within a business environment, and journalism, as it focuses on communicating news-related information to the public.
But technical communications differs in that its purpose is to use effective communication to explain products, procedures, technologies, and other types of technical information. This involves the writing, designing, and development of reports, service manuals, multimedia materials, and in-house publications, as well as the utilization of digital media such as web sites, social media, and video.
In a technical communications program, students learn how to do everything from writing documents describing information technologies to developing and designing Web sites. They develop the skills required to be efficient writers, researchers, designers, and editors. Courses cover topics like composition, style, rhetorical criticism, report writing, usability testing, information design, technical and professional editing, Web design, instructional materials development, and interaction design.
Upon graduating, students have the technology and communication skills to work in a wide range of fields and media. Many technical communications majors go on to work in high tech fields like health care, software development, manufacturing, government, and more. Possible job titles include technical writer, editor, Web designer, publication manager, information designer, copy writer, court reporter, public relations specialist, and more.