Re: Certification - My Turn

Subject: Re: Certification - My Turn
From: Angela Howard <angela -at- NAVISOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 09:42:12 -0800

Larry Kunz said:

>Yvonne DeGraw mentioned Michele Jackman, who spoke to the Santa
>Barbara STC Chapter about "New Attitudes for New Ways of Working":

>> One of her comments was that job-hopping is the trend for the
>> future and "technical communication is frog city." She claimed
>> that certification stifles the growth and creativity in a
>> profession. She said that rather than "defining the limits of the
>> pond, we should be naming the lily pads."

>I like Ms. Jackman's premise, and I love her metaphor. I'm a little
>mystified, though, as to why she says what she says about
>certification. If job-hopping is becoming the norm (and it is),
>couldn't certification be helpful both to job seekers and to
>employers? Could you elaborate a little bit, Yvonne?

I can elaborate on this too, since I was at the Santa Barbara meeting also.
What Michele meant was not job-hopping from another field to technical
communication, but job-hopping within the many jobs in the technical
communication field: writing, marketing, training, graphics & illustration,
doc management, editing, web authoring, online docs, etc.

If we are certified, what will area(s) will certification cover? A little of
everything? That sounds useless to me. Michele's fear (and mine) is that a
certification that attempted to measure such a broad field would only end up
limiting it, since it is constantly changing and growing.

I have never wanted a certification, nor felt the need, but I have been lucky
enough to work in places (software development) where no one was certified
(programmers or writers) and we were all considered professionals solely on the
basis of our experience and the work we did. However, if certification
existed and employers started requiring it, I supposed I'd go out and get
it. But PLEASE, if we have to do it, lets not limit or stifle the growth of
our profession. I have my doubts, along with Arlen, that any certification
process could remain flexible enough. At the very least, we'd have to have
a core certification and a set of auxiliary certifications for the areas we
wanted to specialize in. Auxiliary certifications could be added as new
roles for technical communicators emerged. (The bureaucracy and
unwieldy-ness of it is starting to make my head spin already.)


Angela M. Howard, Technical Writer /\ /\ /\ | |
NaviSoft, Inc. (805)882-2350 x126 /--\ / \ / \ |----|
angela -at- navisoft -dot- com / \/ \/ \| |

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