Resources for technical writers in general and API writers in particular

Web resources

I'd rather be writing Tom Johnson's blog about technical writing is always useful.

Classes and certifications

General technical writing programs

UC Berkeley Extension Program. Certificate in Technical writing. This program has recently changed so that you can complete the requirements online.

UC Santa Cruz Extension Program. Certificate in Technical writing

API-specific courses

Peter Gruenbaum's class on API documentation Peter's classes cover the basic concepts really well. I'd recommend that beginners take these courses and then proceed through Tom Johnson's API course.

Tom Johnson's API writing course Covers the hands-on tasks like using Postman to test your code samples.

Groups and conferences

Some of the following are groups and some are places to find groups.

Technical writing groups

Society for Technical communication STC has been around for decades and is inclusive of all forms of technical writing, including scientific and medical documentation.

Write The docs An organization similar to STC, except that it is newer and focused on the tech industry and software documentation.

API the DOCS A conference focusing exclusively on API documentation.

The Good Docs Project An open-source project that creates templates for open-source documentation. They offer useful templates of every kind, and there's also a Slack community full of people who like to talk about documentation templates -- participating can be even more educational than the templates themselves. (I was an early contributor, which is why the templates in my Git repo are very similar to some of the templates in the Good Docs Project.)

Places to look for groups Both WTD and STC post their local meetings on Start an account, if you don't have one, and search for "technical writing" or "documentation."

[Eventbrite)( Most chapters of STC and WTD advertise their events on, but some use Eventbrite, so it's worth checking both if you don't yet know how to find them.

Technical writing conferences

Write The DOCS The annual conference in Portland is a good idea for software technical writers, especially for anyone new to the business.

API the DOCS A newer, online conference focusing exclusively on API documentation.


Where to find electronic copies of books If you don't like to use dead wood books, you can find many of the best technical and writing books on these sites.

O' A few years back, I joined Safari books, which was absorbed by O'Reilly. I've always kept it, because I can find information about any technical topic I need to learn about. This site contains videos and courses in addition to books. O'Reilly is not the cheapest option, but obviously has the biggest inventory of technical titles.

Scribd Scribd is the Netflix of books. The selection of technical and technical writing books is good, and I get plenty of use from it in my non-working hours, either checking out new books or listening to audiobooks while I run on the treadmill. I pay about $8 a month for access to everything.

Books technical writers should read

Information Architecture (A.K.A. The Polar Bear Book) By Peter Morville et al.

The Product is Docs by Christopher Gales and the Splunk Documentation Team

Modern Technical Writing by Andrew Etter

Revising Business Prose by Richard Lanham