English Majors as TWs

Subject: English Majors as TWs
From: "Locke, David" <dlocke -at- BINDVIEW -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 13:56:17 -0500

Since the English departments have gone out, asked employers what they
needed, and created TW degrees, they have defined what TW is to become. This
process of creating an elite has happened in every emergent discipline. You
don't have to like it. It will happen without your permission. The people
that create the degrees define the participants, because employers rely on
those definitions. Why not take some academic's word on what a TW is, since
TWs don't seem to know? These days a TW degree is optional. Other people are
grandfathered in. But, the day is coming when TWs will have to have a TW
(English) degree or they can forget about getting a TW job.

The English departments have been able to do this, because the STC refused
to define TW, as a definition would inherently exclude. Instead, the STC
focused on certification, which somehow was supposed to be inclusive. Other
professional organizations, i.e. DPMA, that focused on certification have
created artificial manpower shortages, and ultimately created lockstep
careers. This has resulted in people who can program that can't necessarily
get jobs as programmers. And, from an STC perspective, people who can write
that can't necessarily get jobs as TWs. Professional organizations, ACM and
IEEE, that focused on defining their profession and implemented that
profession in a curriculum have succeeded. Once you have your CS or IEEE
degree with a good GPA, employers should be beating down the door to get to
you even without certifications, job titles, portfolios, and testing.

In TW you are lucky to get an entry-level job, because too few employers
train. Then, if you don't burnout after two years, you can generally look
forward to doing the same thing over and over for the next twenty years or
so. Whoops, tool change ahead. Oh, and you might get a doc manager job, if
you've somehow managed to wrangle that job title before provided, of course,
that some person with less than two years experience and the right degree
doesn't get it first. What a career.

So we can get all worked up about employers demanding TW degrees. But, we
stuck our head in the sand too long. Now it isn't up to us anymore, since we
do the hiring--don't we?

David W. Locke

P.S. Forget the messenger, attack the ideas. I've donned my asbestos mittens
and ear plugs.

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

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