Re: TW and grad school (LONG)

Subject: Re: TW and grad school (LONG)
From: Damien Braniff <Damien_Braniff -at- PAC -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 14:55:10 +0000

I've been following the thread on education and certification with some
interest. While I see possible problems in implementation (as have been
mentioned) I do not see this as a reason to shy away from taking this
route. Perhaps things are a little different here in the UK where, until
recently, you couldn't do a degree in tech writing. The closest available
was an option run by the City and Guilds Institute which a lot of
writers/would be writers took to gain some recognition.

Education is something we are all involved in whether we like it or not.
Even in something as simple as subscribing to this list we learn things and
indeed "teach". There has been much debate over the years about how we
learn best - the structured approach, "free learning" and so on. Each has
its pros and cons but we do need to be taught how to do things, be it
formally or otherwise. I know that when I was at school grammar was no
longer taught (well not for English) - the different tenses etc are not
something I could readily debate on but I do know when something doesn't
"read right". If that is the case then I re-write it on the principle if
it doesn't look/rad right to me then it will probably confuse the audience.

Certification, in any industry/profession, is only a guide, not an absolute
indication of competence. You get certified builders, plumbers etc who do
poor work. Ditto in the professions - bad doctors, lawyers etc.
Certification is no guarantee but it is a good guide. A couple of years
ago I had some work done on our house and got 4 quotes - all "certified"
but 2 quoted about ?1000 less than the other 2! In the end we went with
one of the dearer quotes simply because he also provided a portfolio of
work and previous customers we could check with. If properly done then
certification can be a valuable addition to the status of our profession.

Here in the UK the ISTC is currently involved in promoting eduction and are
currenlty helping to set up some NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)
which will help provide entry into the profession and, hopefully, raise
awareness. It is also involved in degree courses - at one university the
TW students produce three of the four ISTC journals issued each year giving
the students practical experience while still studying.

Enough, getting late and I feel the rambling starting!

Damien Braniff
Technical Author
PAC International

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