Re: Just can't help myself

Subject: Re: Just can't help myself
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 11:32:21 -0400


bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote on 04/28/2005 11:13:29 AM:
> So before we go off into the stratospherics of John's
> list, maybe the discussion ought to be refocused on the skills one ought

> to have at a somewhat lower level.

You made the proposal, You give us your list of minimums.

Personally, I'd say that the minimum is:
1 - Language aptitude (passing grade in college or University level
language course)
2 - Computer aptitude (demonstrated knowledge of representative computer
equipment and tools)
3 - Domain/industry knowledge (degree, certificate, training, and/or
related experience in related domain/industry)

We need a separate certificate for that? #1 can be verified numerous other
ways or tested by others, #2 is hopelessly diverse and depends not on the
techwriting "profession" but the set-up at the job site, and #3 is no
where near the realm of generalised techwriting.

Then, as experience increases and the certification process tries to
identify 'levels' of techwriters, the morass grows and becomes more
impossible to manage as writers specialise and add diverse knowledge,
experience, and training.

We don't need certification to identify "good" techwriters and weed out
the bad. We need to have a resource to educate HR departments and hiring
managers how to determine their specific needs and how to evaluate if a
prospective techwriter is appropriate for the position. That's a job that
cannot be performed over the vastly diverse field of "technical
communication" by a simple certificate.

Give out certificates and you'll still have disillusioned employers. When
they want a tool guru to streamline their documentation production process
they might end up with an industry guru that can't swing the tools, when
they need a language pro they might get stuck with the tool monkey, etc.

Membership in a organisation that would appropriately promote the
craft/profession is justifiable and one that could be sold to a large
number of techwriters. Arcane and complex certification that costs far
more than employers are willing to increase wages is pointless, and
simplistically generalised or overly exclusionary certification will prove
to be ultimately meaningless.

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Just can't help myself: From: Dick Margulis

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