Re: Degrees, certification, blah, et cetera

Subject: Re: Degrees, certification, blah, et cetera
From: Dan Martillotti <danm -at- DEV -dot- TIVOLI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 12:32:32 -0600

Christy Dawn Langley wrote:
> I have been reading this thread with much bitter amusement. As a recent
> grad (you all remember my lugubrious opine concerning TW jobs earlier on
> the list this month) with my flimsy piece of paper known as a Master's
> degree, I have to say I certainly wish I had consulted this list two
> years ago when I began my MA program. Hey, I could've saved 15 grand and
> two years of wasted time!! If only I'd known that you dont need a
> *degree* in technical writing, just the ability to *demonstrate* that
> you know what you are doing. I feel the sudden need to run back to my
> Alma Mater and warn tech writing hopefuls that their degree is just a
> silly piece of paper. This list has started me a high
> school diploma *really* necessary? Maybe we can convince employers that
> this is just a piece of dead wood also and do away with grades 9-12.

I've sat back and watched this thread (yet again) with the same bitter amusement
as Dawn. I graduated with a B.S. in journalism and certificate in technical
writing in 1990. Since then, I have met several writers with degrees and
several without degrees. I have seen good and bad in each camp. What I
*haven't* seen are young (relatively speaking), non-degreed writers. Most of
the non-degreed writers I have met are at least 10 years my senior in age. I
would have to guess that the trend is moving towards degreed writers.

That is not to say that those non-degreed writers are all subpar. Nor does it
mean that attaining a degree insures good writing skills. However, you cannot
discount what earning a degree means. For most people, earning a degree means
at least four years of *hard* work. When someone graduates from college, they
have, to some degree, paid their dues.

If an employer chooses to use a degree as a criteria, that is their choice. You
can't blame them for that. So what if you are a good non-degreed writer and you
are automatically disqualified? Whoever said life was always fair? Maybe that
employer pays for it down the road, maybe they don't. However, if you feel so
strongly about the degree issue, would you really want to work for someone that
felt like they settled because you dan't have a degree?

The point is, there are good and bad writers everywhere, regardless of their
education. There is no productive value in disparaging those with degrees or
those without.

Happy Holidays! :-)

Dan Martillotti
Tivoli Systems Inc
Senior Technical Writer

"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet." - fortune
received on 12/13

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