Re: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees

Subject: Re: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 21:00:36 -0800

Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

>Now - I know you're all going to have 97 3/4 hissy fits
explaining how layout
>and organization are important to a document. Feh. Never at
expense of the
>data, Bubba.

As your later post about an ideal curriculum implies, this
statement is only half right.

Data and design aren't an either-or choice. Accurate data is
useless if it's not usable. Design is useless if the data is
fluff. Quick: which is more important in song-writing: the words,
or the music? It seems to me that people confuse their personal
strengths with general truths.

>Hence the ubiquitous Tech Comm degree. Class after class of how
to use
>whitespace and never a moment devoted to learning how to digest
>Hours and hours of pointless debates about FrameMaker - and
never a moment
>spent talking about ACTUAL topics you may one day document.
Professor after
>professor who hasn't spent a single minute in the real world.

The contents of most programs in tech-writing are more varied
than you suggest. However, I've done enough hiring to say that a
degree or certificate doesn't translate automatically into
competence on the job, or even a good portfolio. And I remember
the shock I had when I moved from the classroom to the office: I
wasn't prepared, and I only survived through a combination of
determination and dumb luck.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Vancouver, BC, Canada
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com (604.421.7189)

"So fall in, lads, behind the drum,
Our Colours blazing like the sun,
Along the road to come-what-may,
Over the hills and far away."
- Marching song of the British Light Division, 19th century

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