Re: certification

Subject: Re: certification
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 19:27:31 GMT

Actually, your licensing argument against certification is more of an
argument for it. Yes, people who have gotten driver's licenses can
drive like jerks. However, they can get in the car, start it, keep it
between the lines, and drive it well enough to pass a test. All the
test does is confirm that the people being tested can achieve this
certain base level of skill.

I look at certification the same way ---- you confirm a certain basic
knowledge set. What they do (and how well they do it) after the test
is up to them (or should we set up tech writing police?). I would like
to have this base level of knowledge confirmed. I've seen too many
people waltz into the profession by simply calling themselves
technical writers. One person I know literally did that --- "I'm now a
technical writer" (the sad part is that management bought it. Same
person also spent a week with Ventura and declared herself an expert.)
Certification would prevent these types of abuses. It would also give
a legitimate entry to the field to those who are willing to work for
the title.

Certificiation won't cull out all the bad writing and it won't do a
bit of good if no one knows about it. However, I think defining a base
set of skills for our profession is a goal worth pursuing.


>Let me offer another example. Just this morning, on my way to work, I
>was cut off 3 times on the freeway, once by someone who came within just
>a few feet of my front bumper, and if I hadn't been alert enough to jam
>on the brakes, or if I had been distracted, we might not have missed
>each other. I assume that at least the majority of these people had
>driver's licenses--that is, certification that they have the knowledge
>and skills to drive provided by a state agency. Clearly, however, that
>certification showed no correlation to competency for the task.

Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net
Cleveland, OH

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