Writing well is important for today’s engineer. Proposals, reports, technical articles, instructional guides, specifications, RFP’s, test plans, SOP’s, marketing data sheets, white papers, patent applications, and numerous other specialized documents are part of engineers’ responsibilities in every discipline.
Engineers who are able to write well are able to create these documents effectively, so that they achieve their objectives. Well-written proposals will gain acceptance. Clear instructions will lead their readers to success. Finely crafted reports will give readers needed knowledge, so they can make smart and well-founded decisions.
Early in his career, author Tom Moran discovered that writing was not an alien task, something separate and apart from the analytic and technical aspects of an engineer’s work. Instead, it was apparent that writing was integral to the responsibilities of most engineers–an important aspect of how engineers communicate their discoveries, progress, needs and designs.
Engineers’ writing represents them, acts as a record of concerns and achievements, and is a means of sharing thoughts and ideas on matters of importance. And, of course, others will judge your thinking, your concerns, your designs and your competence ” all these things ” on the basis of your writing.
The good news is that the processes and approaches that many engineers use in their technical work are remarkably similar to those that lead to successful writing. Common engineering concepts like problem definition, analysis, design, prototype development, design reviews and acceptance testing have analogs in the writing process.
In the first book of this four-book series, Moran presents writing from an engineer’s perspective–looking at comparisons between the steps that lead to good engineering practice–and those that result in writing excellence.
This book is not a technical writing text–at least, not the type of text used in most university classrooms. Instead, his hope is that it will serve as an inspiration and guide to help engineers approach their writing tasks with the same confidence and skill that they take to the technical problems that confront them. When that happens, they will find that the e-mails, reports, test-plans, and other documents they write are as useful, successful and valued as their engineering efforts.
From 1-31 October, IEEE-USA is offering Writing for Success-An Engineer’s Guide, Volume 1: Designing for Success free to IEEE members only.
And from 1-30 November, the free e-book offering for members is The Best of Backscatter from Today’s Engineer-Volume 1, a collection of some of the best of author Donald Christiansen’s columns about “all things engineer and engineering.”
IEEE members can purchase the other three books in Tom Moran’s writing series, other volumes in the Best of Backscatter series, and other IEEE-USA e-books, at deeply discounted prices by going to IEEE-USA E-Books. To purchase IEEE members-only products, and to receive the member discount on eligible products, members must log in with their IEEE Web Account.
Call for Authors
IEEE-USA E-Books seeks authors to write an individual e-book, or a series of e-books, on career guidance and development topics. If you have an idea for an e-book that will educate other IEEE members on a particular topic of expertise, email your e-book proposal to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager, Georgia C. Stelluto.
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Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s publishing manager, editor-in-chief of IEEE-USA in ACTION, and manager/editor of IEEE-USA E-Books.