Engineering approach to certification

Subject: Engineering approach to certification
From: Rene Gedaly <rgedaly -at- EMAIL -dot- MSN -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:33:12 -0600

What about taking an "engineering" approach to tech writing and certification?
Engineers are hired with math or non-engineering degrees (or non-degreed). They
are also hired straight out of a four or more year professional program. And
others are card-carrying, certified engineers who had to pass a battery of tests
after so much time working in their profession.

I'd like that option. Engineers aren't all alike and neither are tech writers.
But we do make assumptions about ourselves and so do prospective employers. We
assume we can communicate technical information. Let's say so proudly in the
form of standardized testing.

The tech fields conduct certification programs at a number of levels; so could
we. We could have tests for grammar and usage, technical communication theory,
and specialties like user interface design, for instance. We could approach the
technical fields about creating a tech writer track for their certification
programs, just as they now have systems admin as well as engineering tracks. And
maybe another level would require examination of a body of work, a writing
portfolio. Certified or not, tech writers will continue to find work with or
without it. I just think that with it, we'd do better individually and as a

Rene Gedaly rgedaly -at- msn -dot- com
Gedaly Information Development

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