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:Re: Certification, Degrees, etc. From:Daniel Wise <dewise -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> Date:Sun, 15 Dec 1996 19:55:57 -0800
When are we going to extract our heads from that warm and fuzzy hole in the sand (or wherever
else you may have your head at the moment)?
1. Certification is no guarantee of competency
2. Degrees are no guarantee of competency
3. Proficiency with EVERY piece of software ever written is no guarantee of competency
4. Suitcases full of writing samples are no guarantee of competency
5. Years of experience are no guarantee of competency
6. Membership in STC *or any other technical, social, or fraternal organization* is no
guarantee of competency
7. Age, sex, skin color, religion, love of animals, etc. are no guarantee of competency
Then how do we manage to hire competent individuals some, most, or all of the time? Judgement.
1. Certification, if handled properly, *could* be a useful management tool for judging
2. Degrees often are one of the *many* criteria used by the capable manager to judge competency
3. Proficiency with specific pieces of software can be a useful criterion for judging
4. Writing samples, if handled properly, can be a useful tool for judging competency
5. Years of experience *in specific, appropriate areas* can be a useful tool for judging
6. Membership in STC can provide the competent manager with another avenue to check to
7. Age, sex, etc. are still no guarantee of competency no matter how you slice it.
How do we apply these tools? Judgement, for God's sake! Judgement. If you are incapable of
exercising sound judgement, no arsenal of tools will do you one bit of good. If you are
competent, you probably use as many tools as possible to check competency. And even if you are
the most competent manager in the world, no *one* tool is going to provide you with a foolproof
So let's stop beating the certification/degree/STC/experience horses to extinction. We need
them all--and often more.