TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:degrees & certificates vs knowledge From:Miki Magyar <MDM0857 -at- MCDATA -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 13 Dec 1996 13:25:23 -0700
There's a good reason why this thread reappears - we are in the middle
of a lot of changes in our work, and it's disconcerting. Wouldn't it be nice
to have everything clear and tidy? Dream on...
However, on the other hand, and in addition I observe the following (in
no particular order) -
In this culture a degree confers status. Maybe not much, but more than
no degree. Also, being a 'professional' carries more weight than being
You are as likely to be paid for perceived value as for actual value. Often
the person paying can't tell the difference.
Academic programs tend to teach academic writing. When I teach TW
classes, I have to first un-teach all the years of learning how to please
teachers, and then teach how to please end users. Some TW programs
are taught by people who actually do the work, teach what's useful, and
use real-world work as examples. If you are considering a degree, look
for that kind of program. (Unless you want a PhD to teach TW in college!)
Thus, therefore, and in conclusion, I submit that if certification is to be
connected to an academic degree (instead of a formal apprenticeship
program), it should require that the academic degree mimic an
You may argue these points if you wish, but I'm the Mom and so I'm right.