Re: Certification/Degrees

Subject: Re: Certification/Degrees
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 09:08:00 EST

At 03:36 PM 12/11/96 -0500, you wrote:

>Nor do most software engineers (we once hired one with a degree in
>medieval mythology who is now working at Bellcore) or most management
>types. I don't know that I believe that being a technical communicator is
>more like being an accountant or nurse than it is being a programmer or
>a project manager.

But there are certification programs for programmers, managers, project
managers, et al, through tool design houses or professional organizations.

>Actually, I think that a large part of the problem is the nature of what
>we do...something that at first glance looks like the basic stuff that kids
>are taught to do when they are six years old.

>Contrast this to art, which traditionally is the province only of the
>"gifted." (See "Visual Literacy: A Primer" by Donis A. Dondis for an
>interesting discussion of this.)

>Viewed this way, it isn't clear to me that certification addresses the basic
>problem...which is that some people view what we do as the province of the
>average educated high schooler.

>Beth Mazur
>mazur -at- maya -dot- com

But it can...if an 30-year-old educated high schooler and a 30-year-old
educated high schooler with a certification from a recognized agency both
apply for a job as a tech doc'er, who's going to impress the HR director a
bit more? Further, over many years, educating HR personnel as to what goes
into a certificate can substantially change the way our field is viewed. If
HR departments know that we have established a minimal set of standards for
a profession, they're likely to start looking for those things in new
candidates. Until we can agree on the standards, though, how can we expect
HR personnel to intuit them?

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
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