Re: Obsession with University Degrees?

Subject: Re: Obsession with University Degrees?
From: Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 10:11:35 -0400

Tony --

>Technical writing is a complex, evolving field, not a trade like carpentry,
>auto mechanics, or welding (not meaning to disparage any of these).
>Academic credentials add to the credibility of technical writers and
>enhance their ability to think and write effectively, IMHO.

I agree with most of what you say.

I would add a couple of things. One, the guy who fixes my Saab has a BA in
mechanical engineering from Cornell, and I think it's reflected in the
thoughtful way he goes about working on cars (American or foreign) -- and
also in the way he explains what he thinks may be the problem and how he
proposes to fix it. He's also a good mechanic -- which is probably neither
dependent on nor independent of his academic experience.

Two, re: technical writers having degrees -- the advantage from the point of
view of the writer seeking a job is not only that their intelligence is
likely to be considered something of a given if they have a higher degree,
but also that they're likely to be offered a higher salary. I don't mind
telling prospective employers that I have a PhD, even if it isn't in
technical writing, and it has certainly allowed me to start at a higher rate
than if I had no degree.


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