The job description of many a position in today’s organization often references familiarity with a particular standard or framework, and sometimes both. Standards and frameworks exist in nearly every industry or endeavor, including, among others, finance, information technology, electrical engineering, healthcare, manufacturing, and web design. Content developers may need to be familiar with these, even if their work is not directly impacted by them. So the questions arise around which standards to stay current on, which frameworks are worth training or certifying on, and how much will they change near and mid-term. All of which impact decisions on career development and advancement.
Sometimes confusion reigns on the difference between standards and frameworks (and its cousin, methodology). Most dictionary definitions refer to standards as generally accepted criteria, measures or rules around some activity or object, typically referencing adequacy or quality of performance or production. Standards can be regulatory, voluntary, open or proprietary, and they set benchmarks for performance, production or processes, that organizations must or should adhere to. According to TechTarget, frameworks are the real or conceptual structures that are used to guide or support the building of that structure into something useful. Some sources define a methodology a guiding system for solving a problem. Think of the standards as the ideal end state, while the framework provides the roadmap or blueprint to reach the end state.
So how much do you need to know about that ideal state (or required end state depending on your industry) in order to create useful content about your organization’s version of it? Perhaps it depends on the industry and the specific standard your organization plans to comply with. You might not need to be as well-versed in it than if you work for the organization that maintains the standard. By the same token, frameworks and methodologies abound, and so do opportunities to be certified in them. Which ones stand the test of time, and provide the most utility to content creators? Do you plan on mastering any standards, or attaining professional credentials in a framework or methodology?
Our poll question provides just a smattering of the standards and frameworks we hear about most often from colleagues and community members. Certainly an exhaustive list would take pages, and bore you to tears. But if your career path is important to you, and credibility in your industry matters, understanding where to focus your attention becomes a pretty critical decision point. Take a look at our list, and vote for the onces that you believe are most relevant or important to technical communicators and content pros. Even better add a comment to this post and tell us what we missed or why you chose as you did.