RE: On degrees and the like...

Subject: RE: On degrees and the like...
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 10:29:18 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Ray [mailto:ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com]
> Subject: On degrees and the like...
> On degrees and the like...
<bid a** snip, coz there's no direct response to a particular point)

Here I go, tooting my own school's horn again.

One of the requirements of my degree was an internship of at least one
quarter. That meant at least 3 months working out in the TC field, using and
learning tools in a production environment. No internship, no degree.

Most of my tool knowledge was self-taught; there was very little tool
specific stuff in my classes, except for the occasional specifics on a
particularly esoteric feature of a tool that might help a student accomplish
a particular assignment.

In our lab (back then, mostly Macs), the lab assistants were generally tool
experts. I became one for PC tools and often offered my help.

While I had lots of classes in practical TC subjects, they weren't about
tools. They were about topics such as how to edit, style, production
processes, planning projects, and so on. (Y'know, that series doesn't have
the best ear, but I'm not going to change it.)

Eric's right that full-fledged degree programs should probably focus on the
theoretical, and teaching people how to learn, rather than tool stuff. If I
might hazard a guess here, I might think that certificate programs have a
different focus: in many cases, a student who has fallen into the field and
needs quick competency knowledge. Unlike a full-fledged degree program, that
includes a survey of tools, as well as a broader treatment of TC concepts.
But certificate programs certainly don't have the ability to tackle in-depth
TC subjects the way a full-time degree program does. Lots of assumptions
here about certificate programs (and I bet I get an earful from folks who
got a lot out of theirs), but I bet I'm not far off in identifying crucial

I guess I am fortunate to have been taught by many instructors who, although
excellent at both academic research and teaching, have worked in the field
of TC and bring that experience to the classroom. These classes not only
taught the theories, but brought real-life examples to the fore, making both
work together for an incredibly enriching experience.

Oh yeah, if anyone had missed it before, I went to the University of
Washington. Go Huskies!

Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper

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