Re: Technical Writing Certifications

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Certifications
From: <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: "Dori Green" <dgreen -at- associatedbrands -dot- com>,<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 12:18:59 -0400

Dori Green wrote:
> Gene Kim-Eng wrote:
>> All the
>> tech pubs field has to do is agree what courses need
>> to be taken in the non-writing skills.
> *************
> Heck, I'd be very pleased if STC developed a basic test and
> certification like Manpower uses for its temporary secretaries.

Any newspaper editor has a test for would-be reporters or stringers.
(A stringer is a free-lance reporter.) The test takes about an
hour, and shows the ability to put together a bunch of jumbled
facts, complete with misspellings and libelous accusations, into
a coherent and mostly sane news story. I would bet that most tech
writers could pass the test with ease. Any good news writer with
a technical bent can do tech writing.

Hence, if you want your prospective new tech writer to show some
credentials, ask it to visit the local newspaper and apply
as a stringer. The news positions generally pay less than tech
writing. Only the truly driven news-hound will take the stringer
position if tech writing is also available. Danger: you may incur
the wrath of the local newspaper editor if you get caught using
this technique too much.

The writing and the desire to research and to write are the key.
Maybe the ability to work through scientific and technical info
without wrecking it. All the rest is tools, tools and fluff.
Gimme a certifiable newswriter, and I'll get tech writing out of

--Peter Neilson


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