Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: "Jason A. Czekalski" <topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 10:29:48 -0400

Here we go again!

To Bill Swallow's popint (which was echoed by all of the other
responders): there are pros and cons to both. In addition, some of the
traits you identify as bad (Gets work turned around ASAP, Improves on
the styleguide, is too busy writing to tell peole about it) are points
that many see as good. On the flip side, some of the traits you list as
good (Takes extra time to use variables for product and company names,
Follows the style guide even if it's not very good) are viewed very
negatively by many.

All I see here is an attempt to create a monoploy. As someone who has
just taken and passed the bar exam in two states, I can assure you that
licensing and certifications have little relationship to skill or
ability. I saw folks pass the bar that I would not refer my worst enemy
to, and I saw people flunk it who would be excellent attorneys. The exam
does not test your knowledge of the law. It tests your abilit to take a
very stylized exam that is only tangentally related to the law. The exam
is designed by a bunch of academic eggheads who haven't practiced law in
years, if ever.

I am afraid that this is what will happen with TW certification.
Academics who have never written a real procedure in their life will be
setting the standards. Those standards will be like the questions on the
bar: only tangentally related to the field. I have a real problem with
the STC's involvement in this. Like the ABA and state bar associations,
they have a vested interest in maintaining a monopoly. They need to
create an artificial shortage in order to drive up prices. Its affect on
quality will be minimal (or negative) because a lot of second-rate
writers will be able to get certified while good writers will not.

It's time for the do-gooders to sit down, shut up, and let the market
operate the way it is supposed to. Good writer will always be in demand,
and will get good rates from companies that understand their value. Bad
writers will also always find jobs. However, those will be at low rates
with companies that do not understand the TW's value. In my case, I
probably could not get through the certfication process. However, I have
always been able to find good work at good rates. Obviously, I deliver
value for my clients or employers. What value would certification add to
the process if my employer could not find a certified writer who could
meet their needs.

In the end, the only thing that matters is does the TW's work positively
impact the bottom line. Again, in my case, my present employer has
received value. My calculations show that the ROI from my work is around
8:1. My boss estimates it even higher, at 12:1. All my boss cares about
is that I know manufacturing culture and manufacturing methods, and that
I can provide documentation that improves throughput; reduces scrap and
rework; and improves quality adn on-time delivery. Again, what would a
certification add to this.

Jason A. Czekalski
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