Subject: Certification
From: Bob Handlin 1331 <BHandlin -at- CHIPCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 11:01:00 PDT

We've misidentified the villain here. If there are people in our profession
who are dragging us down, shame on the EMPLOYERS. If a company hires
ineffective technical communicators, that company deserves the quality of
work it gets in return. Hire intelligently to begin with! If you make a
mistake in hiring, have a plan in place to fix it!

As a practical matter, any certification we adopt would probably not the
"ratified" by the profession unless the overwhelming majority of the people
doing the job currently could pass the test. What would that prove? I'd
rather slug it out in the existing free market economy, and leave my
professional differentiations in place. I'll be very unhappy if the day
comes when the main requirement for hiring a writer is whether or not the
writer has a CTC (Certified Technical Communicator) certificate.

Don't laugh, lots of professions are like that. My travel agent has letters
after her name. The counselors in the Employee Assistance Program here have
several sets (actually, *some* have several sets, some a few, and some only
one). Real estate brokers seem to have lots of them. I don't know what
these letters mean, and they don't help me when I select a service. I can
guarantee, though, that there's a cottage industry profiting from the work
involved in obtaining each and every set.

At the moment, I'd say the demand for highly-skilled writers outstrips the
supply. If you're really good at what you do, you should violently OPPOSE

The free market is doing its job!! The demand for better technical writers
has caused the number of available technical writing training options to
explode. Fifteen years ago, you'd have been hard pressed to find ANY
academic program aimed specifically at training technical writers. Today,
there are dozens within easy striking distance of where I live (Boston).


bhandlin -at- chipcom -dot- com

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