RE: Technical Writing Certifications

Subject: RE: Technical Writing Certifications
From: "Tariel, Lauren R" <lt34 -at- saclink -dot- csus -dot- edu>
To: <brianlindgren -at- aol -dot- com>, <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, <khizran -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 10:38:37 -0700

I think certification can make a difference for entry- and junior-level technical writers, but I didn't need it. When I started tech writing in 1991, I didn't know what it was, but I knew how to write and I worked cheap. I didn't know that I could really make a living doing that until I came across a junior college class for technical writing while I was working at a bank. The class was called "Writing for the Professions," but the instructor kept calling it Technical Writing. "What's technical about it?" I thought. I wrote a lot of documents for the bank, some of them technical, and when I got laid-off, I told one employment agency that one of the things I did was write and it's sometimes called technical writing. The recruiter just about blew her top, "You're a technical writer!" "Well, I guess I am now. Put me to work."

A love of writing, one class, a series of happy accidents, and now I have this career behind me. "Certifications? We don't need no stinkin' certifications."

As far as my consulting career is concerned, I've never been asked for a certification, but sometimes employers want to know about my four-year degree, which isn't on the list of desirable degrees of most employers. The employers that care about education seem to be big business with big bureaucracy that are looking for a contract-to-hire employee. I'm not that, so I'm not a good fit for the position even if I did have the degree they wanted. My state contracts never really required anything along the lines of technical writing certification, although many positions want PMP certification. I plan to get that towards the end of my current contract.



From: techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com on behalf of brianlindgren -at- aol -dot- com
Sent: Mon 9/24/2007 2:55 AM
To: neilson -at- windstream -dot- net; khizran -at- gmail -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Technical Writing Certifications

This is more in response to Peter's posting.

Sometimes if you're being bid for Government jobs (as an example), the job requirement states that you need either a degree or certification in technical writing.

I agree that there is no substitute for writing. Although I have years of technical writing and editing under my belt, I have neither a degree nor a certification in it. In fact, most of the more seasoned tech writers I know do not have a technical writing, English, or journalism degree.

I thought about getting a certification simply to have the credentials on paper to be bid for certain work... but instead opted to get a more technical master's degree. Everything Peter says is true, but a certification could make a difference depending on the industry.


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Re: Technical Writing Certifications: From: neilson
Re: Technical Writing Certifications: From: brianlindgren

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