Re: Certification

Subject: Re: Certification
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- LGC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 10:54:51 -0600



> All I have to do is read the TECHWR-L messages for a while to make me
> feel REALLY inadequate while I stare at my little certificate.

> Ginger Jones
> FFKB48A -at- Prodigy -dot- com

I for one was appalled to read this. I've observed a resistance to--even
a belittling of--higher education in many technical writers, both on
this list and elsewhere, and it simply staggers me. A former colleague
once complained to me that she couldn't even get an interview at a
company she wanted to work for because she didn't have a degree. She
actually said this with an aggrieved tone, as if it were such dreadful
bigotry for the company to expect its professional staff to hold college

I have yet to hear a doctor or lawyer or CPA or teacher whine because he
or she is required to have a college degree (or two). They're
professionals, and so are we in my opinion, so why should we expect any
less of ourselves? Do we want to be in a profession that requires
competence of its members, or do we want to be a collection of glorified
secretaries and tech-heads who just happened to fall into a writing job?
(I didn't make up these terms; we've all heard them applied to technical
writers.) If we want to be in a profession known by the quality of its
members, are we willing to expend the effort required to demonstrate our

You know, I've been teetering on the fence in this certification debate,
but I've almost pushed myself over to the side of supporting it. :)

Ginger, don't feel the least bit inadequate about your certificate. Feel
proud. You've accomplished something that has advanced your standing
both professionally and personally. The certificate hasn't made you a
writer; only writing practice can do that. It does, however, show that
you have the discipline to apply yourself to a course of study that can
enhance your abilities as a professional writer. I applaud your
accomplishment, and I hope I'm not alone in doing so.


Stephen P. Victor svictor -at- lgc -dot- com
Landmark Graphics Corporation svictor -at- compassnet -dot- com
15150 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079 USA De gustibus non disputandum est

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