RE: Certification (was: Re: Hostility Towards Whatever)

Subject: RE: Certification (was: Re: Hostility Towards Whatever)
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 12:16:32 -0600

My biggest argument against John and other advocates of certification is
that I doubt it would carry much weight. Telling somebody you're
"TW-certified" or "STC-certified" or whatever is likely to be meaningless
to the person you're telling. Why? Because this occupation is something
most people don't know or care about, unless it happens to be what THEY do
for a living.

I've seen ample proof of this in all the "nobody appreciates me"
frustration vented over the years on this board. This ain't a sexy,
high-profile gig. Yes, somebody's gotta do it, but the fact is our
profession is shrouded in obscurity, the result of the general public's
lack of knowledge or interest in it. Recalling another frequent thread
here, just think how hard it can be in a social conversation to even
explain what we do for a living.

This bothers some of us, but not me. Keep hiring me and keep paying me and
I'm a happy camper. If I want more attention, there are plenty of other
occupations with a higher profile.

But to get back to my original point, a credential like MCSE certification
is something people recognize - because everybody knows who Microsoft is.
Likewise, everybody in software knows what C++ or Java is, and would
attribute some weight to a certified Java developer.

But to be a "certified technical writer," presumably deemed so by some
national organization of tech writers (be it the STC, or the Posada
Foundation <g>, or whatever), just isn't that meaningful, because nobody
knows who that organization is or what that certification symbolizes. I
don't see that changing any time soon.

So again I say, if you really want certification, go get industry-specific
certification from a known and accepted entity, such as Sun, Oracle,
Microsoft, etc. Don't try to fit us all into one mold with blanket tech
writer certification, because we just don't all do the same thing.

I still maintain that ambition and merit will get you where you want to

Keith Cronin
Tech writing. Like poetry, but with a better health plan.

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