Re: STC certification: what's in it for tech writers?

Subject: Re: STC certification: what's in it for tech writers?
From: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 09:16:31 -0700

Generally speaking, I would accept this as an axiom. However, I would cite
a number of my own observations, among them STC's own declining membership
and the virtual collapse of attendance at STC chapter meetings I've attended
in the past few years as evidence that for the most part employers who
continued to hire technical writers post-dot-com did not really have all
that much difficulty distinguishing battle-scarred writers with the
hard-won technical writing experience they were looking for from all the
"accidental technical writers" who joined the profession and STC during the
dot-com (and who now appear to have left both). Rates for technical writers
have fallen, yes, but as I see it, it's because there are fewer openings
even for those writers with the right chops, and the number of listings
requiring domain knowledge are an indication of what employers are really
using for resume screening.

IMO, the time when certification may provide benefits to experienced
technical writers is if/when another dot-com-like boom hits and there's a
fresh flood of would-be "accidental technical writers." I won't go so far
as to say that this won't ever happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting
for it right now.

Gene Kim-Eng

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:26 AM, Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net> wrote:

> The general answer is that professionals embrace certification for
> themselves when they see that it getting them more interviews, jobs, raises,
> and respect. I have to argue by induction at this point, but we've seen no
> evidence that the general situation doesn't apply to technical
> communicators.

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