RE: Certification -- take 2,577

Subject: RE: Certification -- take 2,577
From: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L Digest <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 00:15:43 -0400

I share Jerry Franklin's enthusiasm for certification, but he also said:

> It's marketing, folks -- marketing. That's the value. Broken record, here, but if you're wondering what the STC can certify that would have
> meaning, you are completely missing the point. The industries, the professions, the hiring managers -- THEY want certification, and, no, they
> do not correlate job performance with certification, either. They don't care, and they wouldn't know how to measure it or recognize it if they
> did.

To which Lynne Wright pointed out:

> I'm not going to argue with what you're saying, in terms of certification being largely a sham -- a pretty bauble that people use to market themselves as being part of some kind of shadow elite... But if we're going to accept that premise -- and it seems that's the core of many of the arguments against it -- then the STC might as well toss out the whole application process, and just say you can put "STC Certified" on your cv and we'll back you up, as long as your annual dues are paid up… They'd save themselves the whole bother of weeding through applicant material, and would make more income over the long term, since people like me, who don't currently belong to the STC, will be pretty much forced to pony up year after year in order to stay competitive.

Yeah, that would have been easier, all right, and it would have saved us tens of thousands of dollars in R&D. Darn…!

I've said it twice already, but this bears repeating: there is an economic reason why companies pay certified professionals (not technical communicators specifically, all professionals in general) more money than uncertified ones. It's not because of a marketing chimera, but a recognition that certified professionals bring value to their employers that's worth competing for. And even granting for the sake of argument that certification warrants no real value, there is an independent recognition by employers that people who take the time and trouble to get certified are more likely to be successful in their jobs. Yes, employers DO correlate job performance with certification, and strongly. Whether that strong correlation is causal or not I do not pretend to know, but there you are.

Of course, no certification process is 100% accurate at filtering competent professionals. But I smile at the notion that a certification process cannot filter at all. Don't kid yourself. I have been watching the process since the alpha tests, and let me tell you, it works. So I invoke the Lennon Principle: there's nothing you can do that can't be done 8^)

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Chairman
STC Certification Commission

mailto:SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net

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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