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: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:28:41 -0400

Janice Gelb wrote:

> I don't think this is an accurate comparison: first of all, the certification
> for many professions has a long history and is automatically recognized
> by employers in that profession. Also, many professions have a much
> narrower set of core (and common) skills. Therefore, establishing a
> certification test for them is easier and the test is more likely to reliably
> identify competence.

You are comparing certification for technical communicators, which is now five months old, with established certification programs in other professions, which in at least one case (PMI) is 25 years old. No one claims ours will be an overnight success. Don't expect an infant to be of much use to you! Give it time.

As to the question of how our profession is different from others, that is difficult to answer from the inside. Phillip Crosby, the quality guru, says that every company he's consulted with says that they are unique and different and can't establish a quality system; in the end, they institute the same quality system 8^) Similarly, our certification consultant has commented that every professional group he's dealt with (and he's dealt with a widely diverse group) thinks their profession is too broad to be certified, and ends up with a similar set of practices. Indeed, after we went through the process of brainstorming, ranking, and categorizing hundreds of KSAs, he commented on how similar the results are to those of other professions. SO from an outside perspective, there are more similarities than differences, which is the organic reason there's a society for technical communication in the first place.

-- Steve

Steven Jong ("Typo? What tpyo?")
SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net
978-413-2553 [C]
Home sweet home page:


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