RE: Technical Writing Certifications

Subject: RE: Technical Writing Certifications
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 16:19:11 -0400

Hmm. But can you afford them?

If somebody just likes techwriting, they'll accept a job at a congenial
company and work there, producing the docs, help, etc. for years. You
can count on them showing up, producing good work on time, interacting
well - and knowledgeably with other staff, and ... that's about it.

How/where they fit depends on your corporate size and structure. Do you
have a documentation "team" that works together to produce this-and-that
product? Or do you have a documentation "team" that is a writer or two
at each of several locations around the country or around the world, and
they rarely interact, because they work on different products?
Or do you have "team" of one, because your company is small and they
have not much more work than a single writer can handle, and not enough
money to pay more than one writer?

If you have a real team, do you expect each and every member to be
constantly vying for the manager's position? Are you constantly
grooming them all? Does every one of them expect (sooner rather than
later) to work themselves out of actual writing and into a
supervisory/managerial/planning role?

What about good ole reliable "soldiers" who like the work, do it well,
like to be challenged by new products and tools and such, don't mind (or
they might even enjoy) mentoring beginners, but are relatively
indifferent to the command track? You avoid them like the plague that
they are?

Consistently-developed skill-sets? Barring luck that would have placed
somebody sequentially in a neat succession of jobs that developed a
certain consistent(?) skill-set, then you are looking at a self-directed
skill-set builder who will spend no more than 18 months to two years in
your hell-hole, before moving on to the next checkbox-fulfilling
position. So, just over a year from now, start the machinery to fill
their soon-to-be-vacant slot on your team. Oh, and all your other
team-members are equally committed to checking off acquired skill-sets?
Which is worse, having them all leave at once, or having a constant,
interleaved stream of slot-filling activity (search, screen, interview,

Certain people that I could name have simply moved from job to job only
because jobs disappeared or because a position became unpleasant. They
routinely held a position for 7 years, 10 years, longer. They remained
unexposed to entire major facets of the industry - such as Help - for
years and years after such tools/delivery platforms/methods became
popular. Yet those same people stepped up with alacrity when the company
(or the writer(s) themselves) decided that a different solution was
needful. Soon, they were churning out creditable work in the new form,
just as they had for years in older forms. No directed schedule of
acquiring the new skillset (by jumping to a company that used it);
instead, they just picked 'em up when the opportunity or the need arose,
without changing employers.
Note that such people thereby retained years of accumulated
industry-specific and company-specific knowledge that would otherwise
have moved to a competitor, or been simply lost as no longer relevant at
their new employment ... far from your constantly-hiring halls.

I dunno. Do you think there might be a credible argument in here

I'll leave it to others (hiring managers) to decide, if I ever need to
put it to the test. Er, I mean those peculiar writers that I described
will... er... um....


On Behalf Of Chris Borokowski said:

> While that's true, is it the kind of slimming you would want? I have a
> friend who is a Human Resources ninja. I'll ask her how she would
> answer, but my answer is to look for some sense of purpose to the
> resumes. The people who have consistently developed skillsets and
> worked toward something will stand out, and that should cut the number
> to a manageable 20-25 people, which I don't consider an unduly heavy
> call load to find a match for a position.
> --- "Tariel, Lauren R" <lt34 -at- saclink -dot- csus -dot- edu> wrote:
> > [...] Certification can help slim the numbers
> > in large markets.
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
> for more resources and info.

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RE: Technical Writing Certifications: From: Tariel, Lauren R
RE: Technical Writing Certifications: From: Chris Borokowski

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