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Five-Step Formula for Effective Documentation with Shivam Gupta, Junior Technical Writer at HackerEarth

Category: Podcast

Last updated on Sep 22, 2022

In this week’s episode of the Knowledgebase Ninjas Podcast, Gowri Ramkumar is joined by Shivam Gupta, Junior Technical Writer at HackerEarth. They discuss Shivam’s technical writing experience, the five-step formula for creating effective technical documentation, and tips for emerging technical writers. 

Key Facts

Key Takeaways

  • Shivam started his professional journey in 2017 as a Head Writer for Dilletante Authors 
  • Shivam shares that his education and passion for technology and creative writing helped him achieve a career in technical writing 
  • Shivam shares how his past experiences are helping him at HackerEarth as a technical writer. He says that technical writing is not a conservative profession. “Only the people who try, practice, and give their best to the field can pursue writing as their profession”
  • He is a huge fan of explaining complex concepts, guides, and details in the simplest manner. Therefore, he believes in keeping his technical content as simple as possible for the ease of users
  • Shivam explains the difference between content writers and technical writers. Technical writing is a highly complex and technical field, and not everyone can create technical content. He believes that a person needs to master being a content writer before becoming a technical writer
  • He also believes that people interested in pursuing technical writing  as a career need to have a sound understanding of technology and related concepts; only then can they make others understand the underlying concepts 
  • According to Shivam, patience, persuasiveness, and clarity of technical concepts are the fundamental attributes that make a technical writer successful 
  • Shivam discusses the five-step formula of the documentation process at HackerEarth:
    • First Step – Requirement gathering: The team discusses the product and its features and benefits with the developers through Q&A sessions and demos
    • Second Step – Notes review: Shivam goes through everything about the product – the features, drawbacks, and jots down notes and builds a document using all the important information 
    • Third Step – Content creation: The technical document content is created
    • Fourth Step – Document review: The document then gets reviewed by the developer and, after approval, goes to his supervisor for final checks
    • Fifth Step – Uploading: The document is updated on the help centre
  • Shivam believes that modern technical writing requires both technical details and creativity. Therefore, he advises emerging technical writers to keep improving their technical writing and creative writing skills. “A creative technical document is something that explains rigid technical details to the readers while making it fun, and that’s where creativity and technical sides meet”  
  • Shivam shares that the quality of the technical document should be measured by its ease of understanding and completion of the information. He advises technical writers to keep it simple and refrain from hardcore terminologies, and if you have to – explain them
  • Shivam believes that documentation tracking and research methodology for technical writing differs from person to person. He shares that if he wants to search for something, he uses different websites and online material 
  • Shivam shares that keeping relevant stakeholders involved throughout the documentation process is of key importance; hence he keeps the document notes and research material online so that developers and other teammates can check it out and post their comments and feedback. This makes the entire documentation and feedback process faster and more efficient

Shivam’s biggest influence

Key Resources

What documentation-related advice would Shivam Gupta give to his 20-year-old self?

“Know your audience and believe in what you are writing”

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