Re: obsession with degrees

Subject: Re: obsession with degrees
From: Dan Martillotti <danm -at- DEV -dot- TIVOLI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 10:20:01 CDT

> At its best, technical writing is a profession, not a job.

Aha! Here's the point that I've been waiting for. Technical writing is a
profession. It's not a trade, its not a job, its a profession. Most
professions (programmers, engineers, and teachers, for example)
desire, if not require, a degree. This gives the profession a certain

Now, does one need a degree to be able to perform one of the above jobs?
Not necessarily. But what does that do for the profession? It makes it look
like anyone can do the job. Isn't that the single biggest issue that technical
writers deal with today, the perception that anyone can write technical

That's why you rarely find programmers or engineers without degrees. I didn't
say never, I said rarely. The ones that are programmers or engineers without
degrees are the exception to the rule and are usually exceptional at what they

Now, having written that flame-bait, let me point out that I know a few
writers without degrees that I respect greatly. I also know a few writers with
degrees that I respect greatly. There are duds from both camps, too. I've
even written to Arlen (who apparently went to the School of Hard Knocks :-) )
to ask for his opinion about something that several degreed writers here were

I'm not saying you *need* a degree to be a technical writer, but the people that
are technical writers that do not have a degree should be the exception if
technical writing is to be a respected profession (not by the writers, but by
other professions).
Its all in the perception.

Dan Martillotti ******************
* * *
Tivoli Systems * * * *
(512)436-8359 * * * ** ** "The more that you read, the more
danm -at- tivoli -dot- com * * * * * * * things you will know. The more that
* * * * * you learn, the more places you'll go."
Class of '90 * - Dr. Seuss

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