If you google for recommendations on Technical Writing certification courses, you'll find the Technical Writer Certification Course from Technical Writer HQ featured in 8 out of 10 sites. In fact, I also recommend it as one of the courses for newbie technical writers in my blog post 'Everything You Need to Know About Technical Writing'.
One day, one of my Twitter followers asked me what I thought of Technical Writer HQ's Technical Writer Certification Course and whether it was worth the money. To provide an honest review, I purchased and completed the course.
About the course
The Technical Writer HQ's Technical Writer Certification course costs $299. It is hosted on the teachable platform, so you can complete it at your own pace.
The course claims that it will teach you:
- the fundamentals of technical writing,
- how to create great documentation,
- how to answer technical writing interview questions, and
- how to stand out in the interviewing process to land a technical writing job.
Most sections of the course include exercises as well as answers that you can compare to your own to evaluate yourself.
You are required to complete a capstone project featuring seven different forms of documentation discussed during the course. You are also required to submit your capstone project to the course creator for feedback.
After you submit your capstone project, you'll receive feedback on the quality of your work and your certificate of completion. There'd be no certificate if you don't submit your capstone project.
This course will be valuable to you if you are utterly new to technical writing. It does deliver on its promise to teach the fundamentals of tech writing. You'll learn what it means to be a tech writer, different technical writer roles, and some key principles/techniques that you should be aware of in order to succeed as a technical writer.
Additionally, you'll learn some invaluable editing tips to improve the overall presentation of your writing. You'll also learn how to write a technical writer's resume, negotiate your salary, and answer common technical writer interview questions, among other things you'll need when interviewing for a tech writer role.
I feel the course falls short in teaching how to actually write documentation.
First, the course is heavily theoretical and delivered in a monotonous narrative tone. It was like the creator was reciting the course content from a whiteboard or paper. I got super bored on several occasions and almost slept off. I would have preferred to read instead.
Secondly, most parts of the course just felt inconsistent and thrown together without adequate practical instructions. For example, in the section on 'how to document an API', I assumed that we'll be shown practical steps on how to write API documentation. Instead, I got a 7-minute recital of the factors to consider when deciding whether to document a third-party API integration.
I also expected hands-on demonstrations on how to write the different types of documentation mentioned in the course. I hoped that the creator would use any software product as a case study and then show how he would go about creating the different types of documentation — thoughts processes, note jotting, errors, the whole package. Instead, what I got was the definitions of each type of document, why it was important, and a sample of what it looks like.
The course also failed to focus on a single niche of technical writing, namely software, and instead seemed to be all over the place, occasionally discussing hardware, medical equipment, and so on. It also sometimes shifted from software documentation to proposal writing. I'm not sure how those relate, but I guess the same principles apply.
As I mentioned, this course will be good for total beginners.
However, if you're like me, and you have some experience with any form of technical writing, I doubt this course will be helpful to you. But, I did enjoy the last sections of the course on editing and proofreading, salary negotiations, and the interviews with technical writers at top organisations like Google, Spotify, Oracle, and Amazon.
I hope this review helps you decide whether this course will be right for you or not. If you do decide to purchase it, use my link to get 20% off.