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If the recruiter doesn't know enough about you and the job and your
ability to do the job to realize that what counts is not necessarily the
piece of paper -- worthy though that certificate might be -- good
riddance! Hopefully, you got to talk to the hiring manager about your
ability to solve his or her problems. Otherwise, the whole thing sounds
like an exercise in futiity -- with the recruiter either useless, an
obstacle, or both.
From: techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jim -dot- pinkham=voith -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of j-m -at- creativeoptions -dot- com
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 2:21 PM
To: 'Diana Ost'; 'TECHWR-L'
Subject: RE: Reality Check
Thanks so much for this detailed response -- and a big thanks to all the
others who thoughtfully responded to me privately as well.
I wasn't trying to open, or re-open, a can of worms here. I had seen
previous discussions regarding certification on this list -- but I'd
just come off a particularly severe "debate" with a recruiter-type who
insisted that I HAD TO GET certification in order to find appropriate
work for my 8-years experience in technical writing and more than 30
years in all other levels of business writing from journalism to
business marketing...heck, I've taught these kinds of courses in the
local community college. So, as you might imagine, I was completely
blown away when this event occurred. I'm always the first to acknowledge
that I don't know everything (The more I learn, the more I find out I
don't know). And, when this happened I NEEDED professional affirmation.
>How important is certification in securing a job or
contract/subcontract in IT/IS related positions, technical writing,
website development and such?
** Diana: My experience as a teacher in a university technical writing
program, at as told to me by my students, was that those who were trying
to break into technical writing from other fields had better luck
getting a tech writing job *more quickly* than before they had a
certificate from the USF program. (The certificate was not awarded based
on testing, but on completing classes and turning in a -graded- work
On the other hand, my experience as a tech writer is that my 20 + years
of experience means that I am not asked for that kind of information
>Is it true that 7-10 years of experience in these areas is useless
without a certification?
** Diana: No, not in my experience. I was considered a professional
senior writer by the time I had seven years of experience in the field.
>Is it true that self education (I spend at least 3-4 hours and more a
day conducting my own training and education online) has no value? I'm
talking about the kinds of targeted training that's offered by
Lynda.com, Adobe, Microsoft, etc. etc.
** Diana: I have found that kind of training to be valuable, and include
it on my resume when it seems pertinent.
>If certification is a requirement, which from the alphabet soup choices
and the various companies offering CBT Training, are most important for
a person who wishes to continue working in this field?
** Diana: It doesn't seem to be a requirement around here, but if it
was, I would lean toward university programs where you could learn
real-world subjects that would help you in your work, rather than
commercial "technical school" classes that may or may not be relevant.
But that's my bias, since I have taught such courses and my students
said it was valuable to them.
I am just wondering: how did some of you get from (what I read as) a
request for an opinion from each of us whether or not *in our experience
job* certification was important, to "the debate over whether
*all* technical writers should be certified? The question was "How
important is (it) [implied "to you]...in [your] securing a job...in
technical writing"; i.e., present tense, implied you, singular, not
plural. I didn't see anything about "should all technical writers be
Mebbe I missed it, but I don't think so....seems, um, a little
reactionary, and is cetainly not the topic I am addressing.
My $.02, your mileage may vary. All my text expressed my opinion only; I
don't speak for others or the company I work for.
Technical Writer/Reporting Analyst
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