Re: Obsession with University Degrees?

Subject: Re: Obsession with University Degrees?
From: Sigrid Schoepel -- writing the wrongs <sas -at- WIGGINS -dot- PENTATECHINC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 09:36:33 -0500


I believe the current threads about degrees and certification stem from an inability to define our profession. Not that we lack the knowledge or desire to do so, but because our profession is constantly changing and has evolved from many areas (engineering, software, business, academia).

I've been trying to figure out a way to explain what I do and why I'm valuable (surprise, surprise, there are people here at work that think I'm a typist with slightly better spelling and grammar skills than MS Word). Only a slight part of my "defense" will be my degree in English.

I've been working on an explanation of technical writing equates writing with photography. Perhaps it will help.

1. The fact that I own a camera (word processing program) doesn't make me a photographer (writer).

2. A class on photography (technical writing) teaches me how the camera (language) works and the theories/science behind good pictures (writing) but doesn't make me a photographer (writer).

3. Photography (writing) is a skill that not everyone can master-even if you can take a picture (speak the lanuage), and have the training, you have to have a certain flair/talent that makes you a photographer (writer).

When planning a wedding, does a couple just call up relatives until they found one with a camera? No, they call photographers who not only have the ability to take pictures but the talent to take GOOD pictures. And, the couple usually interviews the photographers and looks at the portfolios.

So, when looking for someone to write a manual, do you just call up people you know until you find someone with compatible software? (Don't kill me folks, I know this happens.) No, you call technical writers who have the talent to produce a GOOD manual. And, you interview the writers and look at the portfolios. (Gee, portfolios! This relates to one more thread!)

So, what am I trying to say? Writing is an art and your talent must be proven.

Back to work! I've got a masterpiece to finish.
(resuming lurk mode)

Sigrid Schoepel
Senior Technical Writer
sas -at- pentatechinc -dot- com

Penta Technologies, Inc.
250 S. Executive Dr., Suite 201
Brookfield, WI 53005
The views expressed herein are mine, and do not necessarily represent those of Penta Technologies, Inc. (especially not this time).

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