Re: Degree, certification, education clarification

Subject: Re: Degree, certification, education clarification
From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 16:53:59 -0500

> This is, I believe the core of the problem Stan points to.
> To be seen as professionals, we must be seen as more than technicians. To

> be seen as equivilant to engineers, we must all eventually have
> equivillant educations. To do that, we must figure out what equivillant
education means.

I don't care about profession VS trade, as long as it's respected.
And the reason it's not respected has nothing to do with education.

Technical communication receives scorn because there are many very, very bad
Nobody outside our field cares how technical writers are created, by
education, by conversion from journalism or technical fields, or by keeping
the geek tree from getting enough fertilizer. What people care about is bad
manuals. Bad help files.

We produce some good manuals and help files, too. There has always been some
good documentation. And I think more good, and less bad, documentation is
being created lately. A lot of the scorn is unfair - the dry, passive tone
that was so prevalent not long ago was mandated. Many bad manuals are
produced by people outside the profession. I've seen receptionists write
manuals between answering phone calls. Nothing against receptionists -
hardly anyone can write well under those circumstances. I've seen manuals
produced by programmers. I wrote manuals while I was a programmer. We've all
seen the translation messes. I have yet to see a VCR manual that was worth
the ink, much less the paper. I'm told many of them make sense in the
original Japanese.

But it doesn't matter. Respect for what we do comes from there being many
good manuals and few bad ones. It really is that simple.

To the extent that education makes us able to produce good manuals and
refrain from producing bad ones, it enhances our image. Lawyers have lots of
papers to hang on office walls. Do those papers buy respect?

We are what we are. We are not technicians, we are not engineers, and the
word "professional" is stretched very thin at this time.

mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
nax -at- execpc -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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