Technical Writing Certifications

Subject: Technical Writing Certifications
From: John G <john -at- garisons -dot- com>
To: William Sherman <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:37:11 -0400

Late to the game, but ...

There are certain skills and aptitudes that are necessary to succeed as a
tech writer. Once you get those down, the rest are more specifically
tailored to the industry and the tools available. Content reuse and its
effects on tools and strategies are part of that, as is agile, and
manufacturing.

What writers need - and can be evaluated on - is how we deal with and
approach situations. How quickly do we assess a situation? How efficiently
do we use multiple resources to gather information? How well do we
assimilate information and truly understand the interplay between systems
and components? How well do we organize and structure information so that
it can be accessed and used? And finally - how well do we use the tools and
media at our disposal to provide information that is content rich,
accurate, and understandable. Communication doesn't happen when we put good
content out there, communication occurs when someone uses it successfully.

My two cents,

JG

On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 8:50 PM, William Sherman <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com');>> wrote:

> This idea of certification comes up every so often, and has some merit.
> After all, anyone can say they are a technical writer, but how does the
> hiring company really know? The certificate sounds like the answer.
>
> But for a certificate to be good, it isn't enough to attend a class, or
> even a dozen, you need to test out to prove yourself.
>
> Here is the rub.
>
> What do you test?
>
> Do you test the ability to use MS Word, FrameMaker, XML, DITA, or others?
> Which ones? All? Some?
>
> And now does that make you a _technical_ writer? Or just a writer?
> Shouldn't the "technical" adjective mean you actually have a technical
> expertise?
>
> So now what do you test?
>
> Your knowledge of C++?
>
> Your knowledge of Fortran?
>
> Your knowledge of .Net?
>
> API?
>
> HTML?
>
> How a PC is assembled?
>
> How an F22 is assembled?
>
> How to fly an AH-64D?
>
> How to meet medical requirements?
>
> How to use a cat cracker?
>
> How to set up media rooms for a company and maintain the equipment?
>
> How to rebuild an engine? What engine, a Model T engine, a small block
> Chevy, an LS-6 engine, a J79 engine, F100-PW-220 engine, a Cat C-18 engine,
> or what?
>
>
> This has always bothered me about the Technical Writer degrees. Does it
> teach you to write or to understand a complex technical subject enough that
> you can break it down for the Average Joe to understand or the well-trained
> individual who needs your work as reference during highly technical work?
> And then, which did it train you on? Will it be the one you need?
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Vincent" <vincentpr -at- trfnova -dot- com
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','vincentpr -at- trfnova -dot- com');>>
> To: <kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com');>>
> Cc: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com');>>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:08 PM
> Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: It doesn't look good for Tina the Tech Writer ...
> OK, this makes for a good segue
>
>
>
>>
>>
>> 2) Absolutely! Please note that earlier in this topic thread I stated
>> that for PMP 'experience trumps the certification 100% of the time'. I
>> believe that CPTW certification will make a difference in customer
>> attitude once it has been established, accepted and promoted. But of
>> course, between all-other-aspects-being equal candidates, if both were
>> to be CPTW certified, and one has ample experience while the other does
>> not, the experienced candidate would prevail. I am not suggesting that
>> certification displaces experience -- it doesn't for ANY type of
>> certification. I am suggesting that in most IT (as well as other
>> industry) shops, the TW is incorrectly regarded as being a lesser
>> specialist, and this perception needs to be remediated.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 10/18/16, Kathleen MacDowell<kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com
>> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com');>> wrote:
>>
>> Sir Vincent,
>> 1) There are schools/colleges that offer tech writing tracks. How do
>> you picture a certificate covering material that those students
>> wouldn't offer?
>> 2) I can't judge whether a certificate would make a difference in
>> customer attitude. Even so, there are some skills that only experience
>> can teach, and some that everyone can't learn.
>> 3) I do wonder if the most skilled will end up designing interfaces,
>> though, and that will undoubtedly provide more respect.
>> Kathleen
>> No virus found in this message.
>> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
>> Version: 2016.0.7858 / Virus Database: 4664/13235 - Release Date: 10/18/16
>>
>>
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References:
Re: Re: Re: Re: It doesn't look good for Tina the Tech Writer ... OK, this makes for a good segue: From: Vincent
Technical Writing Certifications: From: William Sherman

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