APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces) are driving digitization in the world. Every business is using APIs to automate and streamline its operations. An API is a programming interface that allows applications to communicate and share information.
API documentation and technical writers are tasked with creating documents and other materials that explain how APIs work, promote their functional programs and explain their usage.
Due to the increased popularity of APIs, the world of API documentation and technical writing has been lucrative. Every API needs proper documentation. This means technical writers are required everywhere to address the growing demand.
Who Needs API Documentation and Technical Writers?
API documentation and technical writers have a broad audience. Some of the people they write for include system architects, system designers, developers, and programmers.
Their content might include authentications, use cases, code samples, and other information or resources that these professionals need when handling their tasks.
Developers and some of the API documentation and technical writers’ audiences need help designing, planning, and building different features. They need to understand what to use, what to avoid, and the standards to follow. They can get all this through the help of API documentation and technical writers.
When coming up with these documents, the writers use different writing tools with their programming knowledge and experience to provide instructions, code samples, examples, and links needed in the development, implementation, and maintenance stages.
What Does an API Documentation and Technical Writer Do?
As discussed above, API documentation and technical writers are responsible for writing a description of an API showing how it works. In their documents, you will find functions, classes, authentications, sample codes, and other details that show how a user is supposed to connect to APIs.
For instance, let us assume that you want to consume an API that must communicate with another one for everything to work as expected. API documentation and technical writers should develop a document showing how these APIs communicate and share data.
They should also provide all the security tokens and parameters for this communication. Their documentation should come with all the required details and set you up for easy API use.
Education Requirements for API Documentation and Technical Writers
If you want to be a technical writer tasked with creating API documentation, you must possess a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to technical communication or programming.
Since you will write about APIs and other related products, you must understand at least two programming languages. You do not want to be writing about something and giving examples when you do not know what you are writing about.
In addition, you will need to possess communication, collaboration, and technical skills. This is because you will communicate with developers, most of whom are introverts, and collaborate with them, especially when working on the same API.
Those with a degree but not possessing some of the above skills can enroll in online courses to advance their skills. Always note that programming skills are essential for all who want to be API documentation and technical writers.
How API Documentation and Technical Writers Work
API documentation and technical writers do not just start creating these documents how they want. They have specific procedures that they must abide by in a bid to structure their data as required.
The procedures involve a lot of time conducting research, compiling and analyzing data, and then creating the documentation. The first step requires the technical writer first to examine the data that they have.
After the examination, they must develop an accepted structure for the entire document. Apart from the structure, API documentation requires technical writers to follow proper standardization to ensure that both the API and its documentation follow accepted standards.
Some of the most important things to include in API documentation include;
- API Functions: Here, you need to let the API user understand the value of all the API functions. For instance, the most frequently used and essential functions can be listed at the top.
- Use Cases: You also need to look at other related topics and provide examples of areas where the particular API you are writing about can be used.
API Documentation and Technical Writing World to Keep Growing
As the world and all businesses increase their digitization efforts, we will see an increase in the adoption of APIs. This means that the world of API documentation and technical writing will get even more lucrative.
Zayn is currently working as an English Lecturer in one of the reputed colleges in New York. He has even worked as a career counsellor for the last 5 years. Zayn loves to spend his spare time reading educational books, novels and writing educational blogs and articles.