RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)

Subject: RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 09:59:35 -0500

Ned Bedinger [mailto:doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com] pondered:

> I would hate to discourage anyone who actually reads my
> posts, but two points come up.

What? You couldn't tell from what I wrote that I hadn't
actually _read_ your post, just winged it? :-)

> First, I have to wonder about an employer who pays for certification
> *after* hiring the writer. I don't know how else they'd do
> it, but that
> way is assuredly backward. Thoughts on how this would work, anyone?

Well, you see, it's like this:

In another thread, somebody pointed out how a lot of companies
like to hire junior people with little formal or work experience
in order to mold them.

In other situations, you hire somebody who has a demonstrated
history of a _lot_ of the skills you need, and then you fill
in any gaps once you've got him/her on staff. Like the previous
paragraph, but with a higher starting bar.

> Second, Kevin--the way I read yours below, I find that IF you were
> interested in certification, you MIGHT (however unlikely) be
> willing to
> pay for it. Since the context of my hypothesis is the
> self-paying TW, your scenario works.

You possibly confuse "willing to" with "forced to".
As I noted in an earlier post, even if you and others were
successful this time at imposing a certification requirement
on techwriters, it would only be in widespread effect after
I'd retired/died.

On the other hand, and probably more along the lines of
what John P and others really mean, I'd pay for specific
training that would make my work easier or that made it
easier/more effective to interact with the people whose
work I document.

By the way, aside to John, I can read about usability and
learn some hints to apply to my work, and not have to take
a formal course - much of which would be me-or-my-employer
paying for review of stuff I'd already read - but it won't
help me any more or less in talking with the company usability
engineer(s). We don't have any of those.

> Unfortunately, you then get disqualified from the experiment if your
> employer pays for your STC membership and/or certification,
> since Dexter
> and I can't then evaluate your willingness to pay. I suppose
> we could
> evaluate your employer's willingness to pay, and try to characterize
> your employer's satisfaction in their purchase, but to me, that's
> drifting into the twilight regions where corporations pay to gratify
> inscrutable corporate "feelings", or they "want" things that have
> traditionally been in the domain of individuals. That is
> scary stuff,
> and I want no part of it, at least not without clarification, and
> perhaps a ritual or two.

Well, I'll feel pressure to pay when I find it hard to get a job
without having your certification. But, if the certification requires
hundreds or thousands of hours of <insert name brand here> study,
then I'd still not pay, because I don't have that many years left
in me.

It's the same reason that, while I enjoy reading a variety of
fiction and other kinds of writing, I wouldn't take a course
on James Joyce (especially if it involved actually reading Ulysses).

These days, when I pay for learnin', it's due to interest. I might
take a sketching and drawing course next fall.

On the other hand, as things change in techwriting, I've had to
learn and adapt, so my shelves that formerly contained books
on tools and techniques for book-like documentation now are
filling with tracts on Help and interface design. Well, actually
it's not so much the physical bookshelf as the hard drive and the
browser favorites.


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