Re[2]: Certification (long)

Subject: Re[2]: Certification (long)
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 10:04:29 PST

Somebody wrote:
>> Will it change things in the future? Yes, and probably make things
>> better.

Then Arlen countered:
>In your dreams. It'll make the field less attractive to get into, and by
>hindering the entry into the field from other areas, reduce the number of
>practioners. This reduction will not have any correlation to ability (meaning
>it will equally reduce both able and unable practioners of the craft).

Then Karen Kay challenged:
>Can you explain this further? When I was first thinking about changing
>careers 3 years ago, I would have been grateful to have a test to
>pass. Instead, I had to work on a lot of fronts, excluding writing,
>and it took over a year and a half to find a job. I think
>certification would have made the process of changing careers a lot
>easier and a lot more focused.

So now I interject:
It used to be that programmers came from all sorts of backgrounds.
Many brought fascinating insights based on their previous experience.
Once Computer Science became a widespread college major, though,
employers preferred to hire "certified" programmers, who, due
to their youth and uniform training, didn't present the variety
of experience that their randomly aged predecessors did. The
computer biz prefers a bland, uniform commodity to a widely
variable one, and happily pays the price, but you have to wonder
if it's a Good Thing to have your programmers drawn from a pool
of people who decided that CS was a Pretty Good Major when they
were 18 years old, rather than the pool of people who developed
a sudden passion for programming at some point in their lives.

Nowadays, a BSCS is necessary for someone with no experience to
land a job; before, you could get a job based on your interest
and vague experience. That's the way it is in tech writing today.

Tech writing is not the kind of adventurous, high-status profession
that will draw vast numbers of brilliant 18-year-olds into a
college program. On the other hand, I know many of brilliant people
in the profession who discovered a passion for writing while they
were doing something else.

If a BSTW is necessary to land a professional tech writing job,
virtually none of these late-bloomers will enter the profession.
A degree requirement is the most effective way imaginable to prevent
people who are already employed from switching professions.j

In short, such a scenario involves future-people-like-us never
entering the profession, while teenagers whose goal is "a professional
paycheck while taking as few math classes as possible" will flock
to Technical Writing programs, just as they've flocked to CS.

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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