Re: Certification

Subject: Re: Certification
From: Dennis Meier <boisemeier -at- EXECU -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 09:23:15 -0600

While I think that certification of technical communicators may be the best
way to increase respect for the profession (and, thereby, compensation), I
agree with those who feel that the engineering certification process is not
a path that TComm should follow. Like many other engineers who work in a
specialized area (nuclear, in my case), I did not seek the P.E because in my
opinion, and in the opinions of most of my peers at the time, the value of
certification seemed negligible. I am not even sure if there was nuke
certification then; taking the exam for mechanical engineering would have
added little value to my job at a national lab.

This is, of course, the problem with trying to certify a profession that is
rapidly evolving: the certification process tends to lag behind the changes
in the profession. Unless the certification is current--and that is
virtually impossible with broad certification of dynamic disciplines--it is

Rather than looking at the engineering model for professional certification,
which attempts to certify a broad discipline, I think TComm should, instead,
look at certifying specialties in a manner similar to how software companies
certify developers. The model used by, say, Novell, to certify CNAs and
CNEs, seems to make much more sense. Can we not, withing TComm, define
specialties which can be certified?
For example, there could be a certification process for HTML 2.0, HTML 3.2,
etc. Perhaps this kind of speciality certification already exists, I don't
know one way or the other, but it seems much more feasible, and realistic,
than broad certification of the entire TComm profession.

Dennis Meier, owner
Technical Communications Consulting

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