Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Svi Ben-Elya <svi -at- ELIASHIM -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 17:16:54 +0200

Does anyone have any suggestions as to who would provide the certification.
Would it be local. i.e., state and local governments? Would it be provided
by a professional organization, such as the STC?

What about alternate requirements for TWs with X years of actual experience
prior to the institution of certification, or as an uncertified TW?

I think we have a problem, in that most of the experience TWs learned on the
job. I believe that other industries/professions took these issues into
consideration during their early days of certification. I don't know what
types of "proof of experience" can be used. Possibly employment slips for
employees and tax receipts for contract writers, or maybe letters from
employers/customers attesting to the fact that the individual worked as a
technical writer during the pre-certification period.

In any case, I think certification can improve TW status and thereby improve

- Svi Ben-Elya -
svi -at- il -dot- esafe -dot- com
chase -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il

-----Original Message-----
From: Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication issues
[mailto:TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU]On Behalf Of Nora Merhar
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 1998 17:01
Subject: Re: certification

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.

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