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

Subject: Re: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2007 18:21:01 -0800

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

Oh yeah sure I knew. In fact, what I post is ordinarily composed as a 3D
fly-through first, then saved as text, and that's what I post here.

>> 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.

Can anyone corroborate this? I mean, employers who chew through junior
TWs and contractors, yes. Employers who invest in TW development?
Hahahaahahahaaha :-) Is it a joke?

> 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.

Sounds cool, but my experience is the manager who would rather get a
budget for someone with the skill, instead of getting a training budget
for existing staff. That manager is everywhere, doesn't come from
anything like a technology background, and has nose pressed firmly into
the manager above on the corporate ladder. Bleah.

>> 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.

OK, I remember that post.

> 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.

Yes, I would too, but I usually can get by with certification books. It
is so much more dignified than being the only one on the team who
doesn't know what going on .

> 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.

I worked with a PhD Human Factors guy one time. He wore a lab coat and
did a workplace documentation experiment to see if people prefered
left-right pages or all-right pages for documentation in 3-ring binders.
The result? Inconclusive. Fuh, he had it made.

>> 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.
> 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.

Age may be a lurking factor in all studies of certification enrollment
rates. I naively wonder if this insight has implications for the place
of less-young tech writers in the workforce.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC): From: Kevin McLauchlan

Previous by Author: Re: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
Next by Author: Re: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
Previous by Thread: RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
Next by Thread: Re: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads