RE: TW Trade Schools..Do U?

Subject: RE: TW Trade Schools..Do U?
From: Win Day <winday -at- home -dot- com>
To: jarnopol <jarnopol -at- interaccess -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 07:52:52 -0400

At 03:10 PM 5/11/00 -0500, jarnopol wrote:

Johnny Brown <johnny_brown -at- hotbot -dot- com> wonders:
<Does anyone out there hire candidates that have attended TW Trade Schools?
That is, those that train wide-eyed students and in about 4-6 weeks, then
sends them merily on their way with a shiny new certificate in their hands
after paying a vulgar amount of money, and convinces them that they are now a
full-fledged writer?>

interesting question. I didn't even know that there were trade schools that
taught technical writing.

Sure there are. Frequently I've seen this type of program offered at the same places that offer MCSE training.

The other way this type of certificate is offered, and the one I'm more familiar with, is a program that takes about a year of night school courses to complete at a college (a community college in the US). You take 4-6 courses in a variety of subjects and end up with a certificate in technical writing.

I took the courses about 5 years ago. I was already a practitioner in the field; what I wanted was the certificate (even though I already had a BSc in chemical engineering)! I see more and more ads these days asking for the paper qualifications.

To be brutally honest (sorry, Ralph!), I didn't learn a whole lot from most of the courses. They were a good refresher for me, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking them.

The other benefit to going through the program was getting to know the instructors. Some of them are active in the local STC chapter, but some aren't. Over the years since then, as I have progressed through my freelance career, I've found that not only do I remember them, they remember me. I've had several referrals to new clients through instructors.

I'm living proof that the process works, I guess -- I was recently asked to join the advisory committee for the certificate program. I must say that by the looks of the course outlines I saw at this month's meeting, the program has expanded and improved tremendously. I'm proud to have been asked to join the committee; I'd like to help the program grow and improve even more.

I think these programs are wonderful resources for people who already have experience in one career path and want to retrain into another. Being able to draw on previous experience in your own area of expertise, you can use the certificate program to sharpen your skills and learn about the technical writing profession and how it might apply to your own area.

Don't expect a recent graduate from such a program to be a senior level writer. They'd be more like a junior-to-intermediate level writer. They have been exposed to the theory behind document organization, usability, project management -- now they need the hands-on experience.

Win Day
Technical Writer

mailto:winday -at- wordsplus -dot- net

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