Documentation is a crucial part of any software development activity. Even the top software development companies are dependent on high-quality documentation for the success of their endeavors.
As a business owner, you want to hire the best resources for the success of your project. And, this applies to human resources as well. And a wrong hiring decision can prove to be very costly for your business.
So, if you need an API documentation writer, and you haven’t hired one in the past, you need to make sure that you select the best fit for your needs. Considering these salient factors can help you make a wise decision which you won’t have to regret later.
1. Experience with Programming Languages
API documentation writer must have familiarity with a few programming languages. Experience in programming helps significantly.
The first reason is that a programmer understands programming terminology better. And API documentation requires the knowledge of programming terminology.
The second, but a prominent reason why your API documentation writer must have programming experience, is to be able to assess the needs of the programmers who are going to be their audience or internal customers. Nevertheless, the documentation must be written in a way that is convenient and suitable for the programmers.
The third, but one of the most crucial reasons is that the API documentation writer must be able to understand existing documentation pertaining to specific platforms to be able to build on the same. He has to be conversant with that API implementation, to be able to document it well!
For this, he does require an ability to read and understand the code. Even with clear programming logic, one can achieve this without even knowing the specific programming language of the project in hand.
2. Difference Between Content Writers and Technical Writers
The most important challenge faced in recruiting API writers is to differentiate between content writers and technical writers.
For API documentation, you need technical writers. And, what follows will guide you on how they are different.
A content writer uses play-of-words to convey information. Based on the work-type, he can vary his creativity. But, the prominent characteristic of API documentation is that it needs the presentation of complex information in a simple way. While most of the times, for content writers the challenge is to present simple information in interesting ways.
A technical writer may not be very creative. He doesn’t have to play with words. He will have to be concise, precise, and logical. But, it will have to cover all the aspects of the API, without missing out even on those which might not be very interesting to read. A simplistic, yet accurate, and comprehensive writing will make the best one for API documentation.
Nevertheless, API documentation writers are technical writers. And, the previous point already emphasizes the reasons for selecting a writer with a technical background for API documentation.
3. Familiarity with API Documentation Tools
There are various tools available for API documentation. Some of these are paid, while the others are free. Some are platform specific while the others are generic.
If you are using a specific platform, you can select the API documentation writer who is comfortable using that tool. Else, if your needs are general, you can hire writers based on their familiarity with around one or two tools.
As such API documentation writers are technical writers, as already discussed above. And, technical writers who can use any one tool are generally able to accustom themselves with the others as well.
The performance of the development project is largely dependent on the quality of its API documentation. If the developers are able to understand the coding, only then they can contribute qualitatively to it. Thus, there is a lot of responsibility associated with the job of API documentation writers.
Good API documentation writers are an asset for the developer company which hires them. And so, they are also well paid. So, to be able to hire an expert technical writer who can take your initiatives forward, you should be willing to pay them accordingly.
These tips will hopefully help you make a good decision. And, if you have an experience about what to look for in API documentation writer, do share it here!
Jin Markov is a Content Writer with GoodFirms.co, a research firm in the USA. He has an experience of 6 years and has been writing on areas related to technology and human resource needs for business.