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>>I'm probably prejudiced. Tech writing saved my life, BECAUSE I was
>>able to enter into the job without a specific pedigree. So I guess
>>I'll always be thankful for that, and defensive of that aspect of
>>the profession: tech writing will let *anybody* in.
to which Bruce replied:
>Me, too. When asked why I started tech writing, I sometimes answer,
>"Because I was an English major, and I was getting too old for flogging
>my aging body on the street to be an alternative." Still, if I could
>have been certified, maybe my first eight months in the profession would
>have been easier.
Maybe your first eight months would have been easier, but they probably
would have occurred two or three years later in your life, to allow time
for you to have amassed the certification. I didn't have that kind of
time. I needed a big change and I needed it fast. So again, that probably
skews my opinion in this discussion.
To me the job is about always being able to LEARN, and then INSTRUCT based
on what you learned. Each job I've had has taught me a ton. But I was able
to learn most of what I needed ON the job, while the certification concept
seems to stress tech writers already needing to know this stuff before
their first day of work.
I'm not naive - I know that I won't get a fulltime gig writing developers'
docs with this approach. That's where the meritocracy comes in. If I want
*that* kind of gig, I gotta go take some classes. I have no problem with
that - I'm currently enrolled in college, and have been off and on since
'96. But I like tailoring my educational efforts to my specific needs,
instead of attempting to fit some one-size-fits-all certification.
Bottom line: based on what I know about the members of this list and their
backgrounds - if all of a sudden some kind of blanket certification
standards were adopted, without which you couldn't find a job, I'd guess
that MOST of us would be out of work. And I refuse to believe that MOST of
us aren't able to do our jobs. I can't necessarily do yours. I *know* I
can't do Andrew's (because I have taken his technology test, and fared
poorly). But I've been able to do my last three jobs, and think I'm
capable of a few more. Like all (or most) of you, I'm still learning.
Sig lines. What tech writers do when they should be working.
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