RE: Fear of certification (was:Definition of Engineer )

Subject: RE: Fear of certification (was:Definition of Engineer )
From: holmegm -at- comcast -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 01 Nov 2003 22:07:57 +0000

"Giordano, Connie" wrote:

>No other communications profession is as frightened of the concept of
>certification/accreditation as technical communications seems to be.

Sigh. Just because somebody disagrees with you, doesn't mean that he is
"frightened". That is a silly level of discourse. Most people opposed to
certification, like myself, see it as an annoying waste of time and money,
that will either be useless or (perhaps) damaging to those who don't join
the club.

That is an assessment and an opinion, not "fright", just because you disagree
with it. I'm not frightened of what a dog leaves on the sidewalk, but I
know enough not to step in it.

>Licensing is a completely different issue, and I haven't seen any really
>credible arguments for why it would be necessary. At the same time, every
>argument I've heard against certification has been full holes and rather
>pathetic scare tactics.

You are the one talking about "scare" and "fright".

>1) Technical writing is too broad to be able to provide certification.
>Horse hockey--Business Communications is an even broader profession and the
>IABC has a very credible, very arduous certification process. Same with
>public relations and PRSA. And ASTD is quickly moving in that direction
>for training.

And very effective business communication is done by people without these
certifications. I haven't seen much evidence that such certs mean better
business communication. What matters is whether the communication is
effective, not the credentials of the person communicating.

>2) Certification will take away jobs from qualified writers: Horse hockey
>again. Certification in other communications profession is voluntary, and
>is not a job requirement in marketing, PR, corporate communications,
>training, or employee communications. How do I know? I have PR
>accreditation, but I've held jobs in all of these other professions with
>nary an eyebrow raised at lack of certification in other fields, nor have I
>ever been denied a communications job for lack of IABC accreditation.

So is certification a valuable tool for employers and job seekers, or isn't it?
I don't trust things that either do nothing or do everything, whatever supports
the effort to implement them at a given moment or for a given audience. Which
is it?

>3) Certification just an excuse for exclusivity: no more so than a graduate
>degree, or country club membership.

Do I even have to respond to this one? ;) It sort of responds to itself.

Greg Holmes



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