My Thoughts on Certification

Subject: My Thoughts on Certification
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 16:53:17 -0800

I've been following this thread for a while now and I'm quite intrigued.
Besides my career as a WordSmith, I've also been (and maybe still am) a
trainer (instructor-based computer training). I'm having a problem
understanding the necessity of certification.

In over 20 years of consulting, training, writing, and other endeavors, I've
never had a prospect or client ask me if I was certified (certifiable--as in
a head case from time to time, maybe) in any area. Many years ago, as a
possible profit making business, I tried to certify computer trainers. I
started an organization which would bestow the worthy initials ACE after a
trainer's name. ACE for Accredited Computer Educator. I thought I'd ask for
$50.00, 3 or 4 references which could testify to the individuals worthiness,
and examples of both curricula they wrote and/or study materials/exercises.
In lieu of the above, I'd accept a VHS video tape showing them in action. In
return, the ACE Guild would help provide group insurance, a monthly
newsletter and, most importantly, referrals to organizations of trainers
capable of fulfilling their wants.

The idea died a quiet, natural death. Through this experience and others,
I've found their is little need for certification in the private realm.
Albeit, certification by doctors, lawyers, real estate people, etc. is out
there; but consumers use it to check on the professional and also use it as
recourse if something goes wrong.

The question remains. Why do we technical writers need certification other
than the self gratification of patting ourselves on the back because we use
the certificate/certification process to validate ourselves to ourselves?
Does anyone on this list believe (really believe!) the customer/employer
will use the certification as evidence of ________ (capability, ability,
understanding of proper use of grammar, language arts, and so on--fill in
your own blank)? Other than self validation, how will the certification
assist the writer in furthering his/her (or her/his to be politically
correct) career goals?

I don't have answers for these questions. IMO (I don't feel the need to be
H, tonight), personally (other than the remote possibility of
Multiple-Personality Disorder, I guess I only speak for myself), I don't see
the need for me, but I can't see all permutations. Help me, people. Other
than the how to administer/certify, _specifically_, how does this
certification help us?

I know this is rather long winded, but this thread seems to be like the Ever
Ready Bunny, it keeps going and going. I think we need to get focused on the
reason why. And, hey, I'll jump on the pro side and help any way I can, if
someone can show me the need...

======> Dennis Hays
======> The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
======> Voice: 518/477-6388
======> Fax: 518/477-5006
======> E-Mail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com


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