Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Nick Marino <Rhetonic -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 00:05:42 -0600

This is so often the opinion of those who are uncertified in their respective fields.  I don't know if this is the case here and I don't mean to say that it is the case.  I see this attitude in a number of fields where an industry established certification process is not well understood.

Perhaps it is a negative reflection on the part of the interviewer who hasn't bothered to keep up with the professionalization in his or her respective field when they reject out of hand a hard-won certification.

Of course the interviewee would be wise to become certified and maintain a portfolio, both to bring to the interview.

Certifications are meant to be known and fully understood by field practitioners so that a common industry standard exists that sends a universal message about the one who posses the certification.  It is just unprofessional for a practitioner to be unaware or uninterested in established relevant certifications.

Chuck Martin wrote:

Corinne Kantor wrote:
> I've been a tech writer for about 5 years now, and I have a portfolio that
> contains samples of my work, which I keep up-to-date and bring to every
> interview. If I was hiring a writer, I'd be much more interested in their
> portfolio than a certification. By seeing samples of a potential employee's
> work, you can learn more about their style of writing, maybe their page
> layout skills, etc. I don't know how you can learn this type of information
> from a certification exam.

For further consideration:

In the months leading to my completing my Bachelor's degree in Technical
Communication, I did a bit of on-campus interviewing. (I say a bit,
because at the time I was working in the field part-time and hadn't
thought much about leaving the Seattle area.) I had actually been
working for a local company, part time during the past year-plus during
the school year and full-time the summer between my junior and senior
years. Before that, I had spent a few years as a writer for a local
newspaper, some of that full-time, some of that part time.

One of my interviews was with a 2nd-line manager at a large technology
company. At one point my interviewer noted that they usually only hired
people with Masters degrees. Part of my response was that you learn to
write well by having lots of practice, and that I had had lots of
practice, several years worth, not just part of my classwork. (I also
projected a lot of confidence in my writing ability in that
answer--pretty gutty, actually, for someone not yet graduated.)
Unfortunately, I can't remember if I actually brought writing samples to
that interview, but I did to the on-site interview that I was
subsequently invited to. That company offered me my first Silicon Valley

When I have had to participate in interviews of other writers, I look at
the writing samples. I look for style, clarity, organization, and a host
of other things that certification can't tell me. Not that certification
can't be a good thing, but in this field, I'm not sure it tells me what
I most need to know about another writer. Put another way, as a
customer, certification probably wouldn't be high on my list of needs
from another writer.

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