Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Nick Marino <Rhetonic -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 00:24:02 -0600

I shall take the opposite position, here, to facilitate further discussion, okie

Denise Fritch wrote:

> After reading the various threads dealing with certification of technical
> writers, I may as well add my two cents. I'm against certification for
> several reasons. Here are a couple examples of what has happened in other
> fields:
> In California, you can have a Ph.D. in accounting, yet unless you have taken
> and passed the CPA examination you cannot associate the words "accounting"
> or "accountant" with your name. To do so is a violation of the law. Just a
> bit extreme isn't it?

Why is it extreme to protect consumers from those who do not posses the proper
training/qualifications to mess with your money? Isn't one's money a bit
extreme of a situation with which to be concerned?

> In the trades industry, there are apprenticeship programs with various
> levels of expertise. Besides limiting the number of "masters" (or whatever
> name they may use for senior levels), the program says little more than that
> a person has been in the program for a certain amount of time and met
> whatever requirements had been deemed appropriate by their union. It
> certainly doesn't ensure that the person you hire will do an excellent job
> on your project.

The inherent risk that hired help may not perform is universal regardless of
certification and does not negate the benefits to both employer and employee
offered by certification.

> In the past decade and a half I've hired a couple of writers directly from
> college. I've also hired and worked with interns from a local university's
> tech writing program. There have been times I've even had to fight
> development department management to hire those people. Yet experience and
> mentoring has helped nurture each of those young writers. A "requirement"
> for "certification" from some outside group (to which I might not even
> belong, let along agree with their views) will not change who I would hire
> in the future.

Perhaps that is because you do not posses the certification. Consider the

When I was in the Navy a new qualification standard was established called the
Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist Pin. It involved a syllabus of self-study,
fleet training experience, and peer evaluation. It took an average two years to
complete and it was intended as a professionalization instrument meant to
upgrade the quality of the enlisted aviation ranks. For is first few years it
seemed like a joke because those of us who worked hard to get it were not
receiving its promise of advancement. This was largely due to the fact that
those making the advancement decisions, senior enlisted personnel, did not
posses the pin and balked at it as a gimmick. Over time as more and more pin
possessors did eventually advance, the trend reversed, and now one cannot
advance without the EAWS pin. And so it is with all certifications, I believe.

Nick Marino

> Best,
> Denise L. Fritch
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

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