How to Write Software Documentation

Learn a proven strategy for writing software documentation based on the 12 main principles of technical writing!

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Is the ability to provide relevant information about using your software essential for your customers? Do you find yourself spending hours and hours trying to explain how to use the software? Or are you getting feedback from your clients that your documentation is hard to be followed, inconsistent or may be even.... confusing?

If you answered with "Yes!" to any of these questions, then this course is for you!

You will learn how to quickly prepare and deliver guidance for your users in the form of software documentation. Learn what it takes to become a user assistance developer and technical writer today!

In the course of the years the core activities of the technical writing profession that has been constantly evolving. We've started off as technical writers, focused solely on technical writing. We transformed into information developers, that also take into account the graphical aspects and design of the content.

This course has been cited by CNBC in the article about

"The 20 hottest job skills companies are looking for right now"

Today, we need to bundle together the writing skills, design and graphics, video creation, multimedia, metadata and software development to meet the expectations of our users. All these assets, put together can be described together as user assistance.

For several years now, I have been delivering training on user assistance for:

  • technical writers (information developers)
  • information architects
  • software developers

I have personally trained hundreds of people in the classroom, online courses, several universities, and internally at a Fortune 500 company! The goal for me has always been to deliver practical information, make sure my trainees get ready for delivering real content, right after the course is over.

What will you learn?

As this course is designed for beginner technical writers, usually students in IT, I cover the following subjects:

  • What is technical writing all about?
  • What are the basics of technical writing?
  • Which are the main principles that you should follow to construct build your documentation?
  • Which are the common terms you will hear and use in the IT technical writing world?
  • How to write technical documentation using GitHub wiki? You will later on use this material for creating your portfolio that you will want to add to your CV when you apply for a technical writer job or promotion to a senior developer.
  • What is information architecture from a technical writing point of view.

By then end of this course you will know how to get started writing your user guides, which best practices and rules to consider, which tools to use for writing.

In addition:

  • You will also find recorded webinars to give you the feeling you are in the university classroom together with other students doing the actual exercises of the course.
  • You will have access to a closed community group, where you can learn together with other students in technical writing.
  • You will have the chance to participate in live webinars with the instructor, to get guidance and answers to questions you may have.
  • Downloadable workbooks to help you as you go through the content and practice what you have learned.

What is NOT COVERED in this course?

Learning technical writing as a beginner technical writer will take you at least 2 semesters at the university and lots of writing practice. It is not possible to provide deep dive information on all possible technical writing subjects in a 5-6 hours course. You will know the basics, though!

  • Technical writing is a skill and discipline that requires writing. Do not expect to become a technical writer by listening to a couple of lectures. You will have to write and communicate in this course. This is not a course for listening but a listen and do it! type of course.
  • This is not an English language course. I will not provide you with details on how to write in English.
  • There are so many tools you can use for writing. In this course I do not go into details on tools you can use for writing, but directly suggest using only 1-2 of them to get you started.
  • Some lectures does not provide a perfect audio experience. There are webinar recordings from classroom sessions, lectures recorded in different times and using different equipment. You may hear classroom noises or imperfect audio recordings. Feel free to reach out to me to ask for clarifications or for newer versions of particular lectures. Still if it is the information about technical writing that you want and you can handle a non-perfect audio - this is still your course.

How much time will it take for you to go through this course?

Short answer:

Section 1: Introduction - 1h 30 min

Section 2: Software Documentation Development - 1 to 4 hours

Section 3: Software Documentation in GitHub - 10 min to 1 hour (or many more ;))

Section 4: Strategies and Information Architecture - 30 min

Detailed answer with explanation:

Section 1: Introduction

I start with a quick and direct overview of the end-to-end documentation creation processes.

Basically when you go through the introduction section, you should get a basic understanding of what technical writing in software documentation is all about, as well as the main assets (deliverables for your customers) that you create using the technical writing skills and techniques. This is the software documentation, images as well as instructional videos and multimedia.

It could take you approximately 1 hour and a half to go through the material and do the exercises in the section.

Section 2: Software Documentation Development

The next section begins to build upon what you have learned in the introduction section. There the most important lecture is the one on Principles of Technical Writing. It is a simple page, but do not underestimate it - this will be your recipe for success as technical communicator and a technical writer going forward.

Again, going through the section and briefly touching upon the main subjects of the principles of technical writing, the tools and the time you need to spend performing the exercises all together can take between 1 hour and up to 4 hours of your time.

Section 3: Software Documentation in GitHub

This is a very small section in terms of time you will need to spend here for reading through the materials, but it touches upon a very important subject - how to provide documentation for a GitHub project. I talk about one of the possible options, I would dare to say the most simple one, to provide documentation in GitHub.

These 2 pages are what my students use to build entire documentation projects at the university where I teach. They work in teams on these project and can write pages and pages of docu and guides using this simple wiki-based writing approach. If you take a look at some old educational mails I have sent, you will see the direct links to some of the small but impressive documentation deliverables they have created in their own pages.

In terms of time you will need to spend here, yes, it would take you like 10 min to read the instructions, but it can take you like an hour to create and set up a GitHub project, to find my samples in there, understand the templates I propose that you use while writing, and really doing the job.

Section 4: Strategies and Information Architecture

Then comes the next section - on information architecture and metadata for technical writers. It opens the door for you to take a look at the basic knowledge that an information architect (think about it as a very experienced technical writer) need to have to begin doing his or her job. This section is more like an overview of the metadata concepts and possible scenarios that you can enable as a technical writer. No special exercises in this course, as this goes a bit far ahead of what a regular technical writer is supposed to do.

In terms of time to spend, you will need like 30 min to go through it.

So, enroll now and see how easy and simple it is to deliver the ultimate help for your customers!

P.S. This course comes with a 30-day full refund policy - no questions asked!

"I find Jordan's course perfectly structured (as you would expect of a specialist in the field) in a way that helps you grasp the concept of technical writing. It helped me quickly develop practical skills through exercises with easy to follow instructions and examples. The Facebook page of this course provided me with a supportive community and additional webinars held by the lecturer, which is a great asset for acquiring more diverse skills needed by a technical writer. Now I feel prepared to apply for my first technical writing job."

- Karina Delcheva

I am extremely happy with this course! I feel much more confident in writing technical documents after taking it. The course is well structured and easy to follow.

Thank you for sharing your professional knowledge in technical writing.

I am looking forward to your next class, "how to write using DITA XML".

- Nikolay Yordanov

It's very helpful to understand what actually one technical writer do and how to became one!

- Radoslav Jivakov

Very insightful information! Helped me at my workplace!

- Benjamin Thomas

Course Curriculum

Your Instructor

Jordan Stanchev
Jordan Stanchev
Using the principles he teaches, Jordan Stanchev has built his career in the field of technical communications.

He applies practical experience collected through years of work in the IT industry as a Java developer, DITA XML technical writer, knowledge architect, project management professional (PMP), and user assistance development architect.

Jordan Stanchev is one of the founders of TEKOM Bulgaria, a passionate teacher at the University, and a User Assistance Development Architect at a Fortune 100 company.

Jordan is the author of various courses related to the field of technical communications, ranging from the basics of technical writing to DITA information architecture, taxonomies, and metadata.

Jordan Stanchev is a frequent speaker and presenter at technical communications conferences, such as tcworld - Stuttgart, Germany, and ETC - Sofia, Bulgaria.

His vast practical experience in technical communications allows his audience to experience a practitioner with real-life experience and advanced knowledge in the field.

Jordan Stanchev believes that we all can achieve so much more at our job with practice and hard work!

Over 20000 participants from around the world have attended Jordan Stanchev’s seminars. His courses change people's professional lives for the better!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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