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In all this debate, I have yet to see anyone come up with a list of what we are to be tested on. I'd certainly like to see
that from anyone who thinks certification is a good idea. Personally,
I can't think of ANYTHING that all technical writers could be tested
on with any degree of objectivity, with the possible exception of
spelling, sentence structure, and grammar--and what would be the point
of testing those things only? EVERYTHING else (tools used, document
design, usability) is subjective, based on the company we work for,
who our audience is, etc. Every other profession listed (doctor,
lawyer, engineer of whatever type) can be tested on OBJECTIVE criteria
(Given this list of symptoms, what are the possible diagnoses?
Describe the decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Illinois in John Doe
vs. the state. How many ohms can you place the RT from the COT before
you need a repeater?)
I'm skeptical that it would help at all in gaining respect for TW as a
profession. Mainly, this seems to me to be a PR move (or a power grab)
rather than an effort to move the profession up to a higher level.
nmerhar -at- charlesindustries -dot- com
Senior Technical Writer, Charles Industries, Ltd.