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Again, as has been said by others, it's only unreasonable because the
certification will not impress those you are trying to impress. There are a
number of reasons for this, including the following abridged reasons from a
book in progress:
--The general belief in development/engineering that "anyone can do
technical writing." Yes, it's still a rampant misconception because when
Cisco goes to $1.50 a share, the people left doing the documentation will be
the engineers. And for many companies, the stock doesn't have to drop at
all...they will use programmers and engineers to write documentation.
Despite it all, it's a widget-driven world.
--Part of the reason for this misconception is the stupid metrics we use to
somehow justify our existence to upper management. "Errors per page" and
"pages per error" and "number of index entries per 100 pages of text" and
other such nonsense have no impact on the business model or strategy. This
is technical writing by numbers and like the paint by numbers sets that were
popular when I was a kid, ANYBODY can do it!
--Orthopedic surgeons, cardiac surgeons, and other highly skilled medical
professionals are certified/licensed NOT because they want more respect from
their peers, as is the tiresome whine so oft repeated in technical
communications, but because many states require them by law to be certified
or licensed. Hospitals recognize the value--in prestige and compensation--of
having a board certified thoracic surgeon on their staff. Do you think an
engineering company would ever recognize the value (prestige and
compensation) of having a "certified technical writer" on staff? Give me a
--No valuation model exists for what we do. We collect useless metrics that
don't contribute quantitative information to the organization's business
model, which tends to paint the tech pubs organization as an overhead
expense, which in turn helps foster the misperceptions and attitudes of
engineering/development organizations toward the technical communications
Quit with the certification thing already. It's not the answer unless you
need to justify your existence or validate yourself to yourself. Instead,
figure out a valuation model for your tech pubs department, complete with
quantitative information collected from value-add metrics (most often,
customer-related) and become an evangelist when you can show that what it is
you do contributes to the organization's financial well-being and growth.
Only then can we hope to get the respect, recognition, and compensation we
often complain about.
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