RE: Certification is absurd

Subject: RE: Certification is absurd
From: "Dan Glovier" <dglovier -at- edline -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 16:09:02 -0500


> No updated tests, but yes, continual education, yes >you have to stay
> relevant or else you'll disappear<.
>
> That's bad?

We stay relevant by the experience we get at our job. Call me crazy (and
many have), but I just don't have any faith that a certificate is going
to make me a better tech writer. And call it hubris, but in the future
if you were to stack me up against a "certified" tech writer, I like my
chances of being able to do the job in a superior fashion.

I think that continual education is great. Heck, I've been doing it my
whole career. That's how I have progressed in my profession and in life.
But I don't need a piece of paper to state that as they may very well
undervalue me.

> > This certification will create a cottage industry based on helping
> > writers pass the test(s), not become better tech writers.
>
> How do they help you fake the required experience that you must prove?

There are classes to help you score better in the SAT, MCSE, MCAT, YMCA,
the WWE, and a handful of other tests. "Come to MCSE BOOTCAMP!! We'll
have you certified in 7 hours, and you'll get a tasty sammich!" It has
nothing to do with doing your job better. Their focus (and bless 'em for
it) is to get you to pass this test. Not get better at your job. Pass
the test. Now we're back at our point about folks being disappointed in
our profession at times.

And we have all known tech writers who have been doing this for a while
who, to be honest, aren't the strongest swimmers in the pool. So
experience (outside of newbies), as we all know, has very little
relevance to the overall ability of a writer.

> > better test takers, not better writers. Our profession takes
> > another hit when these test takers don't cut it at the new job.
>
> We're taking hits now because they aren't cutting it at their jobs
now.

I know what you mean. However, at the last job I was at, I turned the
whole company around on tech writers based on my performance. Down the
road, I have their recommendation. That other tech writer will not.
Chuck Darwin once again raises his arms in triumph.

> > Here's the sad thing ... if the STC was better at its job,
> > membership in it could be a form of low-level certification.
>
> yep...but they're not.

/sigh

Yeah....

Also, with companies scanning in resumes, if you don't have the term
"USDA CERTIFIED TECH WRITER" on your resume, you won't be considered.
The civil libertarian in me doesn't like that so much. "If you don't fly
this flag, no soup for you!" Blech.

Later!
Dan




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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Certification is absurd: From: John Posada

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