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Subject:RE: On degrees and the like... From:"Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM> To:"'Chuck Martin'" <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Tue, 28 Mar 2000 14:25:51 -0500
Sorry Chuck--I just have to disagree with you on this and maybe many others
on the list as well. I don't think any communications discipline belongs in
the engineering school. And no matter what relative importance you place on
tools, organization, research, writing, editing, layout, or analysis, it is
a COMMUNICATIONS discipline first. That point seems to have been forgotten
in the whole discussion of to degree or not degree.
I have an honors degree in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth
University--Advertising track--doesn't sound very technical does it? And I
would not be an award-winning writer and speaker were it not for this
degree. But an affinity for technology and a little serendipity moved my
career from the PR path to the techcomm path. And I would not be a
well-paid senior level technical communications professional were it for my
degree alone. After 12 years of PR, journalism, and marketing and 7 years of
technical communications, I consider myself a professional communicator, not
simply a TW. It is a profession, not a job title. A certificate alone
wouldn't make me a success, and experience alone isn't enough to make it
satisfying. It is the combination of education and experience, and pure
talent that makes a writer a professional.
In the end, to be successful in any communications discipline you must have
a talent for communicating, verbally or visually, in the appropriate medium
to the desired audience for an intended result. In addition, you have to be
intimately familiar with both the product you're communicating about and the
audience you're communicating to. That takes both education and experience.
It takes all the skill sets discussed throughout this thread, and it takes
the love of learning (also mentioned, but sadly less frequently).
I would like to see more universities develop a Masters of Science in
communications--not technical, not marketing, not educational, just
communications. Then those that want an academic pursuit of technical
specialties can do so, as could the trainers, the copywriters and layout
artists. But the academic pursuit is not as rewarding for some as the "real
world" learning that goes on. Recognize the value of both, and look for the
communications ability over the tools and you'll have a staff that produces
well, and continues to grow.
Who has to step down from the soapbox and get back to some writing stuff.
From: Chuck Martin [mailto:CMartin -at- serena -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 1:14 PM
Subject: RE: On degrees and the like...
I have a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication from my school, the
University of Washington. It was issued by the School of Engineering. Here,
TC is seen as an engineering discipline, which is as it should be.