Re: Obsession with University Degrees? (#967962)

Subject: Re: Obsession with University Degrees? (#967962)
From: Bill Burns <wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 1996 07:37:59 MDT

19-SEP-1996 18:21:08.14

>>Does that mean some brilliant tech writer or someone who has had novels
>>published or whatever is banned from the job simply because of a lack of
>>University qualifications?
>>I've interviewed a lot of people for technical writing jobs in my time and
>>I've never stipulated a degree. I've hired some very talented writers who
>>never went to university, or left half way through, and they could all run
>>rings around someone with a degree. [snip]

>I'm with you, Yvonne!

>Actually, the key phrase to look for is "or equivalent experience".

>True, corporate US places a high value on sheepskin, and many large
>corporations are very strict about the degree requirement -- and yes,
>they do miss out on some really good people because of it (me,
>f'r'instance). But I'd say *most* companies appreciate the "equivalent
>experience" as much, or almost as much anyway.

I have an advanced degree, and I've found my studies beneficial
for cultivating certain skills that prove valuable in my
work as a technical writer. However, I learned how to produce
technical documentation by engaging in the practice of technical
writing, not by studying theory about it. I'm not disparaging
technical communications programs (or any degree program) by any
means, but they are certainly not any proof against poor practice.

I've seen examples of excellent technical writers with and without
degrees. The key is not how they got their "education" but what
they do with it--the same key, in my mind, the distinguishes an
excellent student (formal or informal) from one who merely
regurgitates information.

Bill Sullivan added that "[e]ducation, however, is what companies know."
I agree in spirit with this idea, although I think "accreditation"
may be a more accurate term than "education" for what corporations

Bill Burns
Assembly Documentation Supervisor
wburns -at- micron -dot- com
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