Tell me about Technical Writing Certificates!
November 1, 2011 8:56 PM Subscribe
Should I get a technical writing certificate? If so, where should I go? What's the difference between the programs?
posted by KathrynT to education (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I've been out of the work force for six years, being a primary caregiver to my kids. For about three years prior to that, I was not particularly intensively employed, due to a crazy stressful dot-com career that left me prematurely burnt out. My husband and I have always known that I would go back to work someday, but his stable long-term decade-plus job at a big multinational corporation evaporated a year ago and he's been working at contract gigs ever since, and it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that "someday" is "actually pretty soon now."
But while I was off making people, the economy fell to bits. And, bonus! I don't have a college degree. My previous career was in software QA, but to be honest I wasn't exceptionally good at it; my favorite part was writing test specs and documentation, and I found the actual "testing" part kind of desperately dull. Focusing on the writing part seems like a much better fit for me, particularly since I actually have a handful of publishing credits, including some major technical magazine articles.
But. . . no degree. I keep looking at jobs to get an idea of what's out there, and they all ask for a BA in English or Communications OR a Technical Writing Certificate. But the requirements for a technical writing certificate seem to vary widely, from a 40-hour online course offered by a professional organization to a two-year classroom program offered by our local state university. They can't both be just as good, can they? Is there such a thing as overkill? Is this even something I should be pursuing?
Sigh. When I was entering the workforce the first time in 1997, people were falling all over themselves to offer you a job if you could turn on a computer and write a simple declarative sentence in your native language. I liked that economy better.