Re: Technical Writing Certifications

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Certifications
From: "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "John Posada" <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 14:45:51 -0400

> I don't agree. Technical writing is not just producing paragraphs of content anymore. Several of the ones I included were directly involved in writing projects I managed.

Well, this is where we continually clash on certification, John.
Technical writing is indeed about content development and nothing
else. Everything else you describe is about the job of technical
writer, which is much larger than technical writing.

You can't certify the ROLE of "technical writer" because it's too wide
and varied. In some cases, project management is dire, and in others
there may be a strict PMO in charge of all the hand-offs. And of
course you have contractor vs. FTE, research vs. consumer, yadda yadda

Because there are already certifications available for process
engineering, project management, development processes, etc., it makes
no sense to wrap these into the scope of certification for technical
writing (content development). Are they important? Absolutely. Will
they make or break a technical writer? You bet. Do they have anything
to do with content development (aka writing)? Nope.

At my company, we draw this clear distinction right down to the
performance review. We have itemized criteria in multiple buckets:
goals, core values/themes, competencies, and responsibilities. IMHO,
we need to take a similar look at certification for technical writing.

I guess is comes down to what you're after with certification. Are you
looking to certify the ability to write technical information for a
target audience, or are you looking to certify the ability to function
in an organization. The former is targeted and tangible. The latter is
extremely wide, varied, and difficult to zero in on without a large
amount of redundancy across other existing certification programs.

Bill Swallow
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
STC Single-Sourcing SIG Manager

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Re: Technical Writing Certifications: From: John Posada

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