RE: Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

Subject: RE: Microsoft Office Specialist Certification
From: "Neumann, Eileen" <ENeuman -at- franklintempleton -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 09:35:16 -0500

Chiming in late here.

I agree that writing skills are key in order to do the job of technical writer well. However, in my experience at my current job, I've found that management is much more impressed that I can generate an automatic table of contents and index using Word, than that I can write a coherent procedure. In the environment where I work, writing is just something that everyone does. However, I was the only employee of four writers who knew how to do these (basic) Word functions.

So I don't know if I'd go all the way to certification, but technical skills do seem to count for more than writing skills, even very basic technical skills like mine. Writers like good writers. Management often has different views.



-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-177285 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-177285 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Nuckols, Kenneth M
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 8:24 AM
Subject: RE: Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

Brad said...

> > For a technical writer, I'd be much more interested in examining a
> > portfolio of varied work and discussing how the work was produced,
> > would greatly prefer a candidate who could demonstrate good writing
> > skills over a candidate that had some kind of paper certification
> > Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
> >
> > - bc
> >
> That's what I figured. I've already started building up my portfolio,
> just wasn't too sure if other technical writers went through the
> of getting certified or not.
> Thanks for the input.

I did the Microsoft Certification back in 1998 when I was doing
classroom and on-site software training for several major organizations.
The Microsoft Office Suite was the core of the training courses that I
taught, so it was very useful. In my current TW gig, and from what I can
tell from others on this list, Microsoft Word is the choice of last
resort in terms of authoring programs.

The advice you received on developing your portfolio is sound. It's
better to be able to show people that you know how to write and you know
how to organize, layout, and present information in a clear and
understandable format than it is to "prove" you are an expert at any one
particular software application.

Writing is writing and layout is layout. All the programs have similar
functions, but different commands and of course the media of
presentation (paper vs. web vs. pdf vs. online help) demand different
design skills from you. Learning enough about a new piece of software to
be able to use it efficiently is relatively easy--but if a person
doesn't have the writing or design skills, it doesn't matter how many
certificates he or she holds.

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