Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: Suzette Leeming <suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Wade Courtney <wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 19:14:30 -0400

I've waited and pondered this situation before adding my opinion. I'm glad
to see I'm not alone with ambiguous feelings toward Ernest & Scribbler (aka
good techwriter, bad techwriter). I see aspects of myself in both, and was
surprised to see some attributes being described as good, when I thought
they were bad (i.e. following even a bad style sheet).

As far as separating the wheat from the chaff during the hiring process -
don't companies do techwriting tips, or check references before hiring? Why
can't my experience and references speak for themselves?

When I started in this field, there weren't any courses/programs around. I
came into techwriting via being a software trainer, then a systems analyst.
I'm more or less self-taught (read a lot of books and listened a lot), but I
believe the quality of my work is good, and do my superiors, which is the
most important.

Would I pass "certification"? I don't know; I suppose there's always the
chance that I'd fail on a few minor items like project estimated (which I
still consider myself weak in). I resent that after 15 years in this field,
I'd be expected to take a test to see if I'm qualified to do what I've been
doing for so long.

If I were a hiring manager, I would take experience & proven results over
certification, any day. So, from both perspectives it appears the
certification would not add value, so then what would the benefit of being
certified?

If I'm missing something, would someone please enlighten me?

Suzette Leeming
Documentation Manager
Stouffville, Ontario




On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM, Wade Courtney <wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:

> I totally agree with this. I want no part of stc certification,
> especially with this economy. I want to be known for my experience and
> results, not by the alphabets that follow my name.
>
> On 07/18/2010, Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> > Caution: there follows a rant based on totally non-scientific personal
> > feelings.
> >
> > As a job seeker in the technical writing field, I don't want any kind
> > of STC certification to become important in the minds of people who
> > make the hiring decisions. There are already too many ways in which we
> > are being hurt by things that make the decision making process quicker
> > and easier for the people doing the hiring.
> >
> >
> >
> > The problem is, anything that makes the decision making easier for the
> > hiring companies must do so by denigrating the experience, personal
> > characteristics, and human qualities of the person seeking the job.
> > The things that make it easier for the deciders work by reducing the
> > initial stages of the hiring processes to nothing but a mechanical
> > process that involves no consideration of the actual person who put in
> > the application. Too often today, when it comes to getting that first
> > interview, nothing matters but whether or not you have the right
> > degree, or the right software tool listed on your resume. There are
> > already too many ways in which deciders try to reduce the decision
> > process to doing nothing but checking off boxes on their lists. We
> > who are looking for jobs do NOT need to give hiring deciders yet another
> > excuse to make decisions based on nothing but the question of whether
> > or not someone has the "right" piece of paper on their wall.
> >
> >
> >
> > The idea that the STC may be doing something good for technical writers
> with
> > this certification business is, in my opinion, ludicrous. It is is
> > cannibalistic. It amounts to the STC saying we think if you can't pass
> our
> > certification you don't deserve the job title, and we'll throw you away
> in
> > the hiring decisions. It makes me think the STC thinks it is in the
> > business of protecting its industry at the expense of the practitioners.
> It
> > is too easy to realize the effect of such a certification would be not
> > helping TWs find work, but culling the herd.
> >
> > I thought the purpose of the STC was to enhance the public and
> professional
> > image of tech writers, and give them support that could help them in
> their
> > careers. And they apparently think the way to do that is to do things
> that
> > limit the field for the hiring deciders even before an application is
> > filled. Since when is it the STC's business to offer to do the
> > corporations' work for them? The STC is not helping anyone by giving
> > employers yet another excuse for throwing out job seekers' resumes
> without
> > thinking about the actual candidate. The idea behind this certification
> > idea may be good but the real world effect of it would be
> self-destructive.
> >
> > I don't want the STC or anyone else doing something that may affect my
> > chances of finding another job for reasons that I don't agree with, that
> > they didn't ask me about, that I had no input on, and that are arguable
> at
> > best. I am a damn good tech writer and I'll prove that to anyone who
> offers
> > me any kind of test. I don't need or want the STC doing something that
> > affects my marketability without my leave and for reasons that having
> > nothing to do with me.
> >
> >
> > If a person tasked to do the hiring is not willing to actually *think*
> > about the applicants, that person should ask to be relieved of the task
> > and let someone else do it. Trying to make the hiring process even
> > more mechanical and less humanized than it already is is grossly unfair
> > to the job seeker. The hiring process is difficult and time consuming
> for
> > the people doing the hiring? Tough bananas - they knew the job was
> > dangerous when they took it. It sure can't be any worse than the death
> > march projects they expect us to work.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Sharon Burton
RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Keith Hood
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Wade Courtney

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