BPO Thought Process

BPO Thought Process

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So You Want To Be an Aviation Technical Writer

Category : BPO
At a technical communications event that I attended in March, a question was raised about how to become an aviation technical writer. Before I elaborate on this topic, it is necessary to understand a little more detail about the world of aviation, especially commercial aviation which has likely touched each one of us in some way or another.

Most of us have some familiarity of airplanes and aviation. Often while sitting in the terminal or from the window of the airplane we have seen the hectic activity which goes on around the airplane to prepare for the flight or receive an arriving airplane. All of those people buzzing like bees around the planes are actually doing so according to the precise instructions laid out in a technical manual. Amazing, isn’t it?

Yes indeed, aviation is one of the most extensively documented domains and there are instructions clearly specified for each and every activity done in and around the airplane. Even the non-technical activities like cleaning the cabin and serving in-cabin refreshments to passengers - we’ve got instructions for those too!

One of the reasons for the precise nature of the documents and procedures is due to the overwhelmingly important safety aspects of owning and operating an airplane. Airplane operators as well as the manufacturers and even the regulators are always deemed responsible for the safety and well-being of the people who operate and travel in airplanes. Aviation, in the 100 plus years of its existence in the modern world, has always been the most strictly regulated and governed industry. For every category of airplane made by any manufacturer in any country today, there are very strict design, operations and maintenance guidelines enforced by the Aviation Authority of the respective country. All of these guidelines have evolved through experience and either originate from or are aligned to the Federal Aviation Authority or European Aviation Authority Rules and regulations.

Such guidelines and regulations ensure that the aircraft manufacturers create well thought-out procedures for each and every activity associated with the operation and maintenance of their respective aircraft. 

Consequently there are clearly laid out standards and instructions for creating and distributing these procedures. All this ensures that there is never a dearth of work for the Aviation Technical Writer.

The role of the Aviation Technical Writer.

Aviation technical communication chiefly addresses two types of communications, both equally critical: Operational communications and Maintenance communications, also known as “Aeronautical Products”. Let me provide you a glimpse into this practice which in some ways is a rather noble profession that provides the individual with knowledge, discipline and the inspiration to achieve the ultimate in excellence.

From the description above, you would have already guessed that since the writing is in the Aviation domain, the job is inherently a very responsible one. That is very true and particularly so since the individual is responsible for the safety of the aircraft. But really there is nothing to be alarmed about- the quantum of knowledge to be imbibed, the quality standards to be adhered to, the standard language of communication to be used as well as the writing tool to be learnt are all very clearly specified. Aspiring aviation technical writers must however accept the following conditions in order to join the profession:
  1. Lifestyle Changes- A certain amount of discipline in daily life, a methodical way of dealing with tasks, both personal and professional as well as maintaining healthy habits is very important. This is because alertness, a calm mind and an eye for detail is needed to perform this work. The frequency of late night partying may need to be re-visited!

  2. Training continues throughout your career – Any aviation-related profession demands that you continually train to keep knowledge levels current in all work aspects including product information, standards, and procedures.

  3. Having the right background - Familiarity with aircraft systems, a college degree or diploma in any branch of Aeronautical/Aircraft maintenance engineering is an absolute must. Degrees and diplomas in commonly offered engineering courses may also suffice, provided the individual has some work experience on any aircraft.

  4. Be the Ultimate Gear Head – Understand how equipment is assembled and how machinery components fit together and are disassembled. Develop and maintain an ability to interpret engineering drawings and reports and generate maintenance instructions from them. Thorough knowledge of standard maintenance practices, care, and precautions while working on aircraft are an absolute must.

One has a choice of different competencies to follow: Technical Writer (Author), Illustrator, Publisher, Technical Writer (Wiring Diagram). Writers can also specialize in certain standards like S1000D or focus on legacy document migration. Today since Aviation Technical Communication is also touched by the digital revolution, people with skills in mobile applications are also needed.

Capgemini’s in-house Technical Writing training school has trained hundreds of technical writers since it was formed a decade ago. Today we train our people in Technical Writing for Aviation as well as other domains such as Automotive, Construction Equipment, and more.

Finally, nothing really beats the pride and satisfaction of pointing at an airplane going overhead or parked at an airport and telling someone “I write the books for that plane”.

So, are you keen to become an Aviation Technical Writer and do you want to get yourself the right background and training? Do connect with us on our website

About the author

Lakshman Aragam
37 Comments Leave a comment
Really an inspiring writeup for aspiring candidates.
arlakshm's picture
Thank you for your kind comments
Very good article on Aerospace technical publications. We are proud on what we are doing.
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arlakshm's picture
Thank you for your kind comments
arlakshm's picture
Thank you for your kind comments
Proud to have you around us Sir. Very nicely and precisely explained. Wish you good luck..I loved the below line the most:Finally, nothing really beats the pride and satisfaction of pointing at an airplane going overhead or parked at an airport and telling someone “I write the books for that plane”. :-)
arlakshm's picture
Thank you for your kind comments
Excellent piece of information for the aspiring Aviation Industry Tech Writers. The basic requirements are described precisely.
Well said about pre-requesites to become technical writer in aviation domain. Also explained on 'art of living' whoever joins this aviation community. Everyone will get cultivated themselve towards discipline, dedication and devotion. Which will be a great success for their following generation.
Perfect information.
A well described background and the importance of Aviation Technical Writing. Indeed it is a motivating article for an aspiring tech writer and also for who already being in the field. Thank you Laks.
Excellent article.
Really touches the heart & feel pride when someone says “I write the books for that plane”.
Very well explained!! The way of Aviation Technical Writing.
Very well explained!! The way of Aviation Technical Writing.
Thank you for the comprehensive information on this subject in your blog. To create the manuals for operation, maintenance, trouble shooting, and illustrated parts catalogs etc for complex products in aviation, automotive, heavy engineering, the Technical Writers have to think and visualize from multiple perspectives. They really put themselves in the shoes of product designers, manufacturing / assembly technicians, maintenance / operations personnel, and last but not the least, the end-users of the product. The technical publication professionals do get a vast exposure on numerous topics like study and analysis of engineering documents, product release cycles, modifications and upgrades, working with 3D/CAD models, and Authoring, Illustration, and Publishing tools, along with the related international specifications and standards. Being associated with this domain for past many years, I would say that it is certainly an exciting field to work in, and is a good career option for engineering and technical professionals.
Congrats...Once again, well articultaed and impressive write-up. Thanks for highlighting those important pre-requisites to be a technical writer. I am proud to be a technical writer.
Very nice article, Precisely explained and inspiring, All the Best, Hope it inspires many more to join us
Greatly showcased the Aviation Technical Writer. Thank you Mr. Lakshman Aragam.
arlakshm's picture
Thank You for your kind comments
What will be the salary of a fresher who has just completed aeronautical engineering? And what will be the approximate salary of a person with 3-5 years of experience in aerospace technical publication?
To be exact, in Capgemini if join as a fresher after aeronautical engineering, after 5 years your salary will be xx per annum. If you are AME, your salary will be around XX after 5 years.
very nice article about aviation technical writing.
Inspiring write-up, preciously explained!
Very clean,precise and inspiring article. Proud that even i got the chance to attend that informative Technical Communication conference.
The way you explained it thats awesome sir. Feeling proud to have you with us and to be a part of Aviation industry.
You have put it right. The requirements you have listed are important, as in case of emergency there is NO PARKING SPACE IN THE SKY.CONGRATS LAKSHMAN.
arlakshm's picture
Thank you for your kind comments
I am in an administrative role in aviation industry and very interested in becoming a technical writer in this heavily-regulated industry. But I have no technical background, and feels quite difficult to digest those technical manuals available to me. I feel people around me do not take me seriously because this is a male-dominated industry and because I have no engineer background at all. How should I conquer those problems? How long the path will take for me to reach my goal?
arlakshm's picture
Hello There, Sincere apologies for the delayed reply. I am happy to guide you. Do not be deterred by your circumstances or background. Experience is a great teacher and you are in an Aviation company. In countries abroad, you will find people qualified in languages become Tech Writers. I do have a hypothetical plan for you which may work. Are you in Bangalore? Please do visit our Bangalore center so that you can meet us. Regards Laks
Hi sir i'm B.TECH aeronautical engineer.so if i joined as technical author how will be my future i mean what position i will reach.
arlakshm's picture
Thanks - there are good future prospects in Tech authoring and starting a career in this line can lead up to various future positions and roles you can plan on as this is a growing industry in India today.
hi sir, i have done ame course, want to work as a technical writer in capgemini.
arlakshm's picture
Hello Mohini- please post your resume to our Capgemini India web portal. Apologies for the late reply
Dear Mr. Aragam Please inform me if you know training providers who offer Aircraft Technical Publication course. I need that information to realize program of improvement capability of persons who involve in issuing aircraft manuals. Tanks for your attention. Regards, M Nurdin Suhar
arlakshm's picture
Hello Mr. Suhar, Capgemini offers training and has an in - house talent school for training technical writers. I shall write to you separately. Thanks for reading the blog.Regards, Laks

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