Re[6]: Certification

Subject: Re[6]: Certification
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 17:16:00 -0600

I say your truncation DOES change the meaning to support your subsequent
statements. But enough of that. Can you tell me, specifically, what part
of the above statement is untrue?

The inference that it is somehow because they didn't go through some sort of
magical degree-conferring process before entering the profession that they are,
indeed, incompetant. That sentiment is clearly the intent of your statement. I
would say that at the very least just as high a percentage of incompentant
writers came through degree programs and began their careers as writers, without
switching. I'm even tempted to assert that *more* came that way than switched,
because they had to leave one profession at which they were gainfully employed
to start with another one, which in all likelihood paid less, but I'll leave it
at an equal percentage.

I absolutely do not believe that TW certification should be mandatory.
I would be one of the first to rise up against such a notion.

This is completely inconsistent with your stated goal for that certification
process, which was to "filter out the rascals" (quote is from memory, so is
approximate, but I'm sure all of those words were in your post and used in that
context). If it's *not* mandatory, it can't filter. At best it could only

A properly designed and administered certification
program can change that.

And I still say that particular sentiment is pure, unadulterated, bunk. Actions
are respected, not wallpaper. I worked in a shop which had both "initialized"
(for lack of a better term) and non-initialized engineers. And it was one of the
non-initialized engineers that everyone (including management) depended on when
push came to shove. His words carried more weight than the "certified" one,
because we knew that *he* knew what he was talking about. There was money on the
line, and management went with the uncertified, rather than the certified,
because money, not certification, was what counted.

Connect it to the bottom line. Engineering was an esteemed and respected
profession long before anyone was ever certified as a "professional engineer."
Same also goes for doctors and lawyers. In fact I have difficulty thinking of a
single profession which was certified before becoming respected.

You're putting the cart before the horse. Certification is a path you take after
you become respected, in a (usually vain) effort to reassure the public that the
profession will continue to be respectable. It's not a path *to* respectability.

If certification isn't the answer, perhaps will
suggest the RIGHT answer.

(I'm assuming there was supposed to be a "you" between "perhaps" and "will".) I
did. In the last post, which you quoted from at the end of your message. We have
to do what we're supposed to be good at. Desseminate the information, in a
better, more readily understood way than we apparently have in the past that we
directly affect the bottom line of the company. Act respectable, respect other
professions (something many of us have trouble with, judging from the amount of
engineer and programmer slamming which goes on here).

There's no silver bullet, no panacea. As Stephen Covey puts it, the "Law of the
Farm" operates in our profession just as forcefully as in any other. Nothing
happens without proper preparation and gestation time. It takes 6 weeks to grow
a radish, regardless of how much you want it sooner.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.

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