RE: Reality Check

Subject: RE: Reality Check
From: <j-m -at- creativeoptions -dot- com>
To: "'Diana Ost'" <Diana -dot- Ost -at- msmcorp -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2006 14:20:35 -0500

Thanks so much for this detailed response -- and a big thanks to all the
others who thoughtfully responded to me privately as well.

I wasn't trying to open, or re-open, a can of worms here. I had seen
previous discussions regarding certification on this list -- but I'd just
come off a particularly severe "debate" with a recruiter-type who insisted
that I HAD TO GET certification in order to find appropriate work for my
8-years experience in technical writing and more than 30 years in all other
levels of business writing from journalism to business marketing...heck,
I've taught these kinds of courses in the local community college. So, as
you might imagine, I was completely blown away when this event occurred. I'm
always the first to acknowledge that I don't know everything (The more I
learn, the more I find out I don't know). And, when this happened I NEEDED
professional affirmation.

Now, back to the real work at hand. <grin>


-----Original Message-----
From: Diana Ost [mailto:Diana -dot- Ost -at- msmcorp -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:54 PM
To: j-m -at- creativeoptions -dot- com; TECHWR-L
Subject: RE: Reality Check

J-M wrote:

The questions are:

>How important is certification in securing a job or
contract/subcontract in IT/IS related positions, technical writing, website
development and such?

** Diana: My experience as a teacher in a university technical writing
program, at as told to me by my students, was that those who were trying to
break into technical writing from other fields had better luck getting a
tech writing job *more quickly* than before they had a certificate from the
USF program. (The certificate was not awarded based on testing, but on
completing classes and turning in a -graded- work

On the other hand, my experience as a tech writer is that my 20 + years of
experience means that I am not asked for that kind of information when

>Is it true that 7-10 years of experience in these areas is useless
without a certification?

** Diana: No, not in my experience. I was considered a professional senior
writer by the time I had seven years of experience in the field.

>Is it true that self education (I spend at least 3-4 hours and more a
day conducting my own training and education online) has no value? I'm
talking about the kinds of targeted training that's offered by,
Adobe, Microsoft, etc. etc.

** Diana: I have found that kind of training to be valuable, and include it
on my resume when it seems pertinent.

>If certification is a requirement, which from the alphabet soup choices
and the various companies offering CBT Training, are most important for a
person who wishes to continue working in this field?

** Diana: It doesn't seem to be a requirement around here, but if it was, I
would lean toward university programs where you could learn real-world
subjects that would help you in your work, rather than commercial "technical
school" classes that may or may not be relevant.
But that's my bias, since I have taught such courses and my students said it
was valuable to them.

I am just wondering: how did some of you get from (what I read as) a request
for an opinion from each of us whether or not *in our experience getting a
job* certification was important, to "the debate over whether
*all* technical writers should be certified? The question was "How important
is (it) [implied "to you] [your] securing a technical
writing"; i.e., present tense, implied you, singular, not plural. I didn't
see anything about "should all technical writers be certified"?

Mebbe I missed it, but I don't think so....seems, um, a little reactionary,
and is cetainly not the topic I am addressing.

My $.02, your mileage may vary. All my text expressed my opinion only; I
don't speak for others or the company I work for.

Diana Ost
Technical Writer/Reporting Analyst

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RE: Reality Check: From: Diana Ost

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