Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Gene Kim-Eng <gene -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 10:39:55 -0700

It seems to me that the biggest problem with certification is that we are really
not defined as tech writers by ourselves or by each other, but by those who
hire us to do tech writing. As a hiring manager, I "know" what someone needs
to be able to do to write about my products (whether I really do know or not is
another subject, but as a hiring manager, what I *think* I know is everything),
and whether someone has a certificate or not means little to me. I got my first
job as a writer because the hiring manager had gone through a string of writers
with communications and journalism degrees who couldn't grasp the tech and
decided to go find himself an engineer who could write. Over the years, many
of the best writers I've ever worked with had no formal training as technical
writers at all, and most of the worst I've had to deal with had degrees and
certificates. Even if it somehow came to pass that it was a legal requirement
for someone to have a certificate to be called a "tech writer," if I had an uncertified
candidate who I was certain I wanted for the job, I'd just hire that person as an
engineer, technician, or whatever job description I could use or create, and then
assign technical writing tasks. Unless, that is, someone thinks they have a plan to
make "practicing technical writing without a license" an offense.

Gene Kim-Eng

At 10:56 AM 4/16/2003 -0600, kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com wrote:

You know what you think you need to be a "real" tech writer. I know what I
think you need. I'm willing to bet they're not the same.

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