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second attempt to post this - first was rejected.
From: Rollings Gill
To: Technical Writers' Forum
Subject: Degrees - related, unrelated, and unclaimed
Date: 07 June 1994 12:39
I came into tech. writing by accident, having decided to apply for training
as a programmer and being offered a job "working in documentation" instead.
From copy typing and rather unexciting routine work, I showed enough
promise to get transferred to a project where I've designed and built an
on-line help system in both winhelp and IPF, and written user guides and
installation guides. I've learnt to use word processor packages, graphics
packages and lots more - and if you're willing to learn and stretch
yourself, a good employer will allow you to try out new things: it brings
benefits to both parties.
I have a B.A. degree in Modern History. I graduated in 1981 and eventually
requested a degree certificate in about 1988. No prospective employer has
ever asked to see the certificate. The only body that ever wanted to see my
school level qualifications (the 16+ and 18+ exams) was the University
Central Council for Admissions. Everyone else seems happy to take my word
for the qualifications I claim on my c.v. (resume). I went to a college
reunion at the weekend. One of my contemporaries has never bothered to
attend a graduation ceremony - she's never seen it as necessary and it
hasn't hampered her.
As a parallel example, my brother, who has a degree in Political Science, is
now a partner in a firm of accountants. Accountancy in the U.K. is
chock-full of people who have degrees in History, Geography, and all sorts
rather than Accountancy or Maths. Degrees often indicate (a) an interest in
a particular subject and (b) an ability to reason, rather than a career
decision made at the age of 14, 16 or 18 (depending on how early you have to
drop subjects at school).
Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd