She Code Africa, UNILAG Chapter hosted a virtual event on technical writing with three panelists. The event was held on Saturday, January 23, 2021 beginning at 12-noon prompt. The MC —Mbaoma Chioma Mary— started by playing cool jams to set a friendly ambience whilst asking the attendees funny questions and after their wellbeing.
Meet The Moderator: Hassanat Busari Hassanat is a Civil Engineering student at the University of Lagos and a Front-End Web Developer. She has interests in 3D animations and greener earth. She is very open to new things, loves reading and also loves to learn. She loves listening to music and watching anime. She believes every individual can make the world a better place, by just doing something no matter how little.
Hassanat, assisted by Akinjobi Sodiq (Geektutor), took over from Chioma and got the ball rolling by introducing the panellists - Lord Bee, Olawumi, and Pearl.
Akinboluwarin ‘Lord Bee’ Akinwande - Backend Developer & Technical Writer Akinboluwarin, also known as LordBee is a backend developer, with a knack for writing. He is an Editor at DevChronicles — a blog devoted to telling the stories of developers. He also co-hosts their podcast. He has edited numerous articles, both technical and non-technical, and has written a few himself. He loves music and learning. He spends his free time sleeping, which many found weird, or watching some random clips on YouTube.
Lord Bee walked us through how he started writing. He acknowledged the efforts of his teacher in High School who gave him writing tasks everyday in preparation for WASSCE. At the time, it seemed like the teacher was too hard on him, but he is grateful for it today as it helped him a great deal. He gave tips like constantly writing to keep oneself in the groove, finding writing techniques that work for you and many more useful tips but with more emphasis on writing consistently. Lord Bee overcomes writer’s block by sleeping.
Olamide Makinde - Technical Writer and Editor
Olamide, fondly called Pearl by many, is an undergraduate of Systems Engineering at the University of Lagos. She is a very talented and seasoned writer and copy editor. She has volunteered for several organizations. She currently works as a Content Editor and Quality Assurance Tester. In her free time, she is either reading a novel, eating plantain, or both. She is always ready to help anyone that needs her help, which aligns with her goal of giving back to others.
Olamide discovered her love for writing at the age of 10 when she started writing love letters to her parents. She gave credit to her secondary school teacher, whom she felt was punishing her by making her write almost every day and signing her up for writing competitions but actually helped her become the writer she is today. As she grew older, so did her love for writing. She pursued her interest by taking courses and certification exams on writing and editing. Over the years, she has written and edited many articles. She gave tips which have helped her over the years, and she believes you should practice and read regularly to improve your writing skills. Olamide’s way out of a writer’s block is eating plantain or binge-watching movies.
Ayangbenro Precious Olawumi - Technical Writer and a Rookie Editor
Precious, who prefers to be called Olawumi, is a Computer Engineering student. She has a little bit of interest in Python and hopes to expand her knowledge in it. Olawumi is a technical writer and a rookie editor, who has edited both technical and non-technical articles. She is a hairstylist and a natural hair enthusiast. Her hobbies include reading paranormal novels, singing and sleeping.
Olawumi started out as a mentee in one of the mentorship programs organized by She Code Africa UNILAG chapter. She had Olamide and LordBee as her mentors during the program. Under the guidance of her mentors; she learnt the ropes on how technical writing works and published five articles. She said every writer, technical or non-technical, has to discover their own unique style of writing. Olawumi shared that reading novels when experiencing writer’s block helps her come out of it.
Here are some of the questions Hassanat posed to the panelists and a summary of their responses:
What is technical writing? Technical writing encompasses all documentation of complex, technical processes including reports, executive summary statements, briefs.
What are some myths about technical writing? Many believe that you have to be a tech guru or have a budding career in tech before you can write technical articles, but the panelists disagreed with that.
Also, technical articles are not just limited to writing about programming languages or sites. It was made known that writing manuals, lab reports and the likes are also forms of technical writing.
Another myth is that technical writing can only be done in the English language. Technical writing can also be done in other languages.
Should every developer be a technical writer? According to each speaker, every Dev does not have to be a technical writer. Although developers should be able to explain their code, they do not necessarily have to be technical writers. Technical writing, as a whole, is a career path just as software development. You do not have to combine both if you do not want to.
Is technical writing overhyped? Compared to a few years ago, technical writing has definitely gained more recognition in the world. However, it is not being placed too high. It has been in existence before, but more value is being attached to it now. Olamide specifically mentioned that she does not believe any career should be referred to or seen as overhyped.
How do you monetize technical writing? Begin by charging your friends and colleagues for your services. There are also different platforms where you can offer your services as a technical writer. Make conscious efforts to be better at what you do, and you put yourself out there.
What is your advice to someone who has no writing background or experience but wants to start technical writing? There are numerous courses available for technical writing on different platforms like Udemy, Coursera and many others. It is advised to take these courses to gain a better understanding of the concept. Good knowledge in how to construct sentences, usage of punctuation marks and diction goes a long way. They also emphasized the importance of joining a community.
The panellists shared different tips on technical writing and answered questions from the audience. The event ended with a closing remark by Sodiq Akinjobi.