RE: certification

Subject: RE: certification
From: "David Berg" <dberg -at- dmpnet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 11:48:00 -0500

> re: Certification is used to exclude.

I've wavered a bit on this discussion of certification. It's definitely a
good idea in some fields, such as medicine, or perhaps for highly
specialized areas such as specific, technical skills like underwater

For a field as broad as technical writing, though, there are so many
different possibilities, even in a single position, that it seems fairly
meaningless to me. Sometimes it might help, and sometimes, perhaps even more
often, it would serve as a way of bolstering the writer's ego more than
anything else.

I've had certification in the past for work in real estate and for medical
work. It was much easier for me to see why it was needed for the medical
work, but I suppose that since real estate folks often manage transactions
involving people's life savings that at least _some_ type of certification
is a good idea. It might help some customers at least feel a little better,
but whether it offers any practical value is debatable.

I have to laugh when I remember taking my certification exam to do
respiratory therapy; the woman who sat next to me when we took the test, a
former classmate, failed the test. I passed. I went on work in a pair of
medical scrubs. She went home after failing the exam and won the state
lottery drawing that night. There's gotta be a moral in there somewhere.

> Not as much financial or personal risk or liability
> involved. Can
> we even get malpractice insurance?

I addressed this recently in a question about errors and omissions
insurance. One point that David Locke pointed out is that if software
engineers are ever licensed, they would probably have a greater need for
professional insurance. For not they're insulated by the liability waiver
legalese that ships with any commercial software. This sort of thing should
be considered in the discussion about TW certification.

As David Locke wrote to me, you could probably find some sort of insurance
by simply calling various agents that specialize in business insurance, but
from the resounding silence when I posted on the subject of insurance a
couple of weeks ago, I'd guess that it's rare for a tech writer to carry a

David Berg


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re: certification: From: Christensen, Kent

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