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

Subject: Re: STC certification: what's in it for tech writers?
From: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: janice -dot- gelb -at- oracle -dot- com, TECHWR-L Digest <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 11:14:06 -0400

Janice Gelb wrote:

> My issue, I guess, is that if the certification is too broad, I
> wonder how meaningful it can be; if it's not broad enough, it
> won't be applicable to many aspects of our field. Seems to
> me that if I were an employer, I would rather have someone
> with knowledge in my field and/or experience with my working
> environment than someone with an overly broad or generic
> accreditation.

This certification is too broad; this certification isn't broad enough; we are working on making technical communication certification just right 8^)

Seriously, striking a balance has taken a lot of work by quite a few people, guided by experts who have told us that (a) every profession is filled with practitioners who think their work is unique and can't be generally described, but (b) whose work can be generally described in areas of practice, often similar to those of other professions. The structure we are erecting is a base certification with sub-certifications. We're starting with the base certification, because that is the only way you can do it.

I am not claiming that certification in any field is a substitute for domain-specific knowledge and experience, and I acknowledge that clients look for that first and weigh it heavily. What I do claim is that when we apply for a job, we are rarely, if ever, the one and only qualified candidate. Usually there are many candidates who qualify. (There days, "many" can be over 100 8^( Domain-specific knowledge is not enough. Given a large number of candidates, and when choosing between the few remaining candidates, certification is often a tiebreaker.

-- Steve

--
Steven Jong, Chairman
STC Certification Commission
http://www.stc.org/education/certification/certification-main

mailto:SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net
mobile:978-413-2553

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
-- Margaret Mead

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