I have no degree and I cannot afford to have one, however, I would really love to get into technical writing because I love writing and I am interested in web and software development. Right now, I am still learning python and java.

Should I at least get a certificate in technical writing to get a job? Or can I get a job without a certificate as long as I have the skills? How and where should I learn technical writing?

  • Hi Camilla, welcome to Writing Stack. I think a very similar question has already been asked here: writing.stackexchange.com/questions/16124/… Take a look, it might provide some insight :)
    – user16555
    Sep 12, 2018 at 7:40
  • Very related: writing.stackexchange.com/q/3505/1993 Sep 12, 2018 at 17:50
  • 1
    I can't quite wrap my mind around the proposed duplicate being a duplicate. Seems to me that the proposed duplicate is actually the opposite of what this question is asking.
    – user
    Sep 12, 2018 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


In many (most?) companies you do not need a degree or certificate; what you need is demonstrated skill. Technical writing is not a super-common degree to begin with; many technical writers have degrees in English or computer science or other fields. I had a writer on my team once whose degree was in history. Further, for very technical documentation, employers are looking for both writing skills and the ability to understand complex technical topics. Having a head start on the complex technical topics can help.

That demonstrated still is important, though -- you have no degree to back you up, so you're going to have to show that you are a capable technical writer. ("Show, don't tell" applies to careers too.) That means you'll need to build a portfolio, and if nobody is currently paying you to do documentation, this probably means doing some side projects or participating in open-source projects. I wrote more about that elsewhere.

Finally, I said "many" ("most?"). Some companies and some sectors are more regimented and expect a degree. In my experience, US government contractors are like this. You will probably have better luck looking at smaller companies and start-ups.


There's a whole movement of folks working in the technical documentation field who are not "technical writers" or "technical authors" per se, but who care deeply about good documentation, and many are extremely talented, dedicated folks doing an excellent job - as a group, they tend to refer to themselves as "documentarians" and the loose affiliation they use is called "Write the Docs".


I am a technical writer, and I also count myself as a write the docs type documentarian of sorts, and participate in this community - and I can tell you there is a near constant stream of opportunities for involvement... first steps we most often recommend to someone wanting to break into the field are to find an open source project they care about, and volunteer to work on the docs.

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