Re: Certification & improvement (longish)

Subject: Re: Certification & improvement (longish)
From: Grant Hogarth <GRANT -at- ONYXGFX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 10:33:49 -0700

Arlen P. Walker, in his usual incisive style, points out some
waeknesses in my reasoning (Thanks!). Herewith are some patches: :-)

> Grant wrote:

> Karen-- you yourself provide an example of how "certification"
> would improve the giving people a focus and a
> *minimum* set of standards for competency.

> But it's the definition of the word "minimum" that's the problem
> here. Define it low enough, and certification is valueless. When the
> bar is raised, it prevents people from entering the profession.
> Perhaps I'm just too cold-hearted, but I think people who hire
> low-quality producers deserve to fail,

I agree that "minimums" are problematic. IMHO *all* standards are so.
That doesn't mean that we shouldn't have them, or that they should be
set in stone. I also agree that low-value products deserve to find
their own level. However, I think that setting a standard that weeds
out the worst of the "wanna-be's" is not a bad thing. Given (and this
is an assumption - the parental unit of all screw-ups) that a
significant number of managers and hiring types are *not qualified*
(and that's a whole 'nother issue) to judge minimal competency, and as
a result lump the good in with the awful, setting a standard is *one*
way to improve the general opinion of the profession.

> A large number of us who would
> (presumably) be grandfathered in would not be able to pass the
> test(s), were we required to take it/them. There will be
> slackers, ne'er-do-wells, and incompetents in our ranks, just
> as there are in all professions and trades.

> I guess then I don't see the point of adding the extra burden of
> certification. If certification will truly not serve to improve the
> profession, why bother with it?

I think that it *will* improve the profession.. I just don't think
that it is a panacea.

> I don't believe that it will reduce the number of
> practitioners, for there is no way to fully close the door (or
> ring of fire <g>), and insist that documentation can only be
> produced by accredited writers (or editors, or illustrators),
> as there is no way to sanction those who choose not to use our
> services. Certification must (for the most part) become an
> assurance of value added; those who do not wish the assurance
> of that value, that warrantee, will hire elsewhere.

> Make up your mind, Grant. Either certification is minimal, as your
> first statement implied, or it's an assurance of extra value, as you
> seem to be saying here. It cannot be both.

Why not? In the first part I am stating what it should be
in an initial state;in the second, I am describing what I think it
should become. The two, in my mind, are not mutually exclusive.

An analogy: spelling and grammer checkers are not perfect,
but I bet most of us use them as at least a first pass filter
for correctness.

Thanks for bringing these points up, and allowing me to clarify
my thoughts on this matter.


Grant Hogarth, Information Developer
Onyx Graphics Corp. Midvale, UT
#include <std_disclaim>

"People forget how fast you did a job --
they remember how well you did it."
-- Howard W. Newton

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