I’ve been in technical communications field for eight years now—first as a technical editor for six years, and currently as a technical writer for two years and counting. Regardless of what kind of products I was reading or writing about, or which company I was working for, the core skills remained the same. And I believe those skills have strengthened my work as a fiction writer as well.
Here are some of things technical editing and writing has taught me:
Pay attention to word choice and repetition.
To write in what’s called global English, the key is to use as few words as possible to make a point, and use those same words consistently. While brevity is not usually a problem for me, noticing word usage was a skill developed over time. See, when you’re installing software, for example, you want to “Click the button” or “Tap the button” if it’s a touch screen. If you pepper the document with “Select the button” or “Hit the button” just to spice it up, that’s going to increase your translation costs and potentially muddy the meaning of your words.