Certification is absurd

Subject: Certification is absurd
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 13:05:40 -0700 (PDT)


Another TECHWR-L member, who shall remain nameless, said...

> You've been awfully quiet during this certification discussion. So what
> do you think of certifying writers?

1. Tech writers can't even agree on the MEANING of the word certification. How
on earth will they ever agree on a common body of knowledge (CBK)?

2. Tech and analytical skills make or break writers. So what are certifying?
They can spell? Use FrameMaker? Obsess over fonts? Blah.

3. Who will develop and police the CBK? STC? Yeah right. STC can't even
manage writing contests with any degree of fairness or objectivity. How on
earth will they handle certs?

4. Certification does not, necessarily, weed out the morons. If anything, it
gives morons a false sense of accomplishment as well as one more thing to
obsess to madness over. I know numerous MCSE and A+ certified people who are
stark raving twits when it comes to technology.

5. You can't certify people on generalized concepts. Certs on Windows, Cisco
Routers, or network architecture are easy because most of the concepts have
reliable definitions. A routing table has a well-defined function and router
jockeys should know that. But ask writers about something like "audience
analysis" and it would elicit thousands of different answers. Hence, any cert
would really just be compliance with an arbitrary set of preferences. And most
likely the people who devise that arbitrary set of preferences will be the most
loathsome font-fondlers imaginable.

6. The tech writing market is already flooded beyond capacity. Certifying will
only artificially "raise the bar". The free market shall decide who is the best
writers...and it is doing that right now.

That's all I have to say on this pedantic topic.

Andrew Plato

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