The problem isn't that there is no such thing as "software architecture", the problem is that it's usually not useful to extract it into a separate role (although that doesn't stop people from trying), making the title more ceremonial than descriptive. Can a Kids’ Toy Bring More Women Into Engineering. So does the lawyer. Engineer is a title of elites that everybody tries to steal. I don't see it as a demotion. Until then, you're using one word to refer to two groups of people with wildly different work requirements, and there will always be people complaining about that. Oh, and by the way, it is extremely common to have significant structural flaws in major construction projects; they simply find ways to go in and fix them before the building collapses, but not always before leaks occur, mold grows, etc. > What about an 'engineer' (a person who designs components for a large corporation for money)? 0. My understanding is that electrical engineers come out of school, and often go right to work professionally. Are the mental tools for software as robust as they are for circuit design? You need expensive, heavy machinery. you can do to protect yourself. PEs are more expensive. It's not that engineering principles are inapplicable to software, but that they are ignored as a result of the environment the discipline finds itself in. Until then, you're using one word to refer to two groups of people with wildly different work requirements, and there will always be people complaining about that. They have existed for decades under that name. Jun 10, 2016 - It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. That they exist is undeniable. Ian Bogost, professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, published an article entitled “Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers.” Read full article in The Atlantic. It's a particularly vicious kind of law and order conservatism, to invent the punishment before one invents the law. If you think grunt work is all there is to software development, you frankly don't know what you're talking about. Whereas graduates of computer science or software engineering college programs sort of famously are usually bad at building "real software" until they've served an apprenticeship of some kind. That's not at all what is meant. There is just sweat. This just reeks of no-true-scottsman. ", "The most important things the shuttle group does — carefully planning the software in advance, writing no code until the design is complete, making no changes without supporting blueprints, keeping a completely accurate record of the code — are not expensive. This is common with respect to mass-produced consumer goods and things of that general nature. Which is probably more appropriate, especially as complexity grows and grows. > “Engineer” conjures the image of the hard-hat-topped > designer-builder, carefully crafting tomorrow. Forum Member 13/12/10 - 19:30 #5. Structured programming paradigms of the 1960s, meant to make software development more predictable and less risky, gave way to the object-oriented paradigm of the ‘80s and ‘90s, meant to make programming better mirror the business processes it facilitates. This is the one downside to the freedom of expression the internet provides. A lot of job titles have similar restrictions. I darted my work life as a civil engineer, mostly designing structural steel buildings. Programmers Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers - The Atlantic. When I saw the headline I immediately though of Don't Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice. We were just talking about how those can be just as bad as software (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10508494). My point is that this article seems to have been written by an elitist person who does not understand the work of the people they are condescending to. Where I come from (Canada), you can't call yourself an Engineer unless you are certified as a Professional Engineer by the appropriate licensing body. In this case the word "engineer" or "engineering" is cheapened as anyone can call themselves that regardless of their output. Maybe software "engineering" just isn't there yet. Full disclosure: I have done both kinds of engineering for a living. Yes, it's amusing to me the various titles I've had over the years, given to me by different companies. Just to name a handful. As User-13784237498326992483 points out, the question presumes universal and immutable definitions of the words "engineer" and "engineering," and I think both he and I would argue that this presumption is ill-founded. You could be talking about software components, or mechanical components, or financial instruments... sorry, I just don't know what you're getting at here. If you have ever dealt with actual architects it should be obvious there isn't anything prestigious about architecture. But I don't see how demoting the class of people who build software brings us any closer to improving that situation. Whatever. Somebody makes money designing door handles and light switches. Now many years later I'm a data engineer at a big tech firm. Only if you constantly change them out! In the Silicon Valley technology scene, it’s common to use the bare term “engineer” to describe technical workers. Oh bugger though. They certainly don't come out of school with an understanding of what circuit topologies are practically used or a great intuition of which factors actually decide designs. One of our guys with the same level of experience as everyone else couldn't be bothered with scripting all of his database schema changes (which was a boring and tedious task because of how we managed changes at the time, and he didn't bother to keep track of them as he made them) because he was an "Architecture guy". Building a rocket is difficult from a technical perspective. The CA thing may be unique to the US, though. Silicon Valley, for instance, loves to call programmers engineers. CypripediumCalceolus 14 points 15 points 16 points 3 years ago . I can think of circumstances where you would want software engineers to make the list. The problem is that the work "Engineer" means both a degree and profession at the same time. Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. 3 years later Lockheed/NASA's "perfect" software led to the Mars Climate Orbiter's failure, right? I agree that these terms may have legal implications in some jurisdictions, but that's irrelevant to the discussion of whether they are accurate. However, firms operating under a Certificate of Authority do not require a specific engineer to 'stamp the drawings'; the firm itself can do so. Toggle navigation Ian Bogost. Granted, the title is overused because scantly few companies have the scale at which it makes sense having a dedicated person for that but I've seen plenty of "art directors" prettying up PowerPoint slides, too. You can usually find the relevant instructions in the programmer manual; if you don’t have a hard copy available, tracking one down online is usually straightforward. I also recommend you opt for a digital timer version. It describes an action, not a person. Witch was fine when there was lots of overlap. Is a PHD a doctor? It's just super complex circuit design, which is itself complex applications of basic electromagnetic theory. Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers. But these problems are just the most urgent and most memorable. > An unlicensed engineer is not allowed to identify as the engineer-of-record for contractual purposes; that is, they can no longer 'stamp the drawings.'. > Change a TV engineer appointment – if you’ve booked an engineer to install your Sky TV, change it here if you need to. There will be bumps in the road. http://www.fastcompany.com/28121/they-write-right-stuff , "This software never crashes. Correct. They seem to do it to distinguish themselves from the rest of the less gifted masses. It seems more akin to a craft than to an industrialized application of basic science, like a bridge or ship. I refuse to oblige this clickbait. Cool. A ChemE writes a program to control the dispensing of certain chemicals to maintain a reaction is engineering, but if a guy without a degree does the same, it's not? And in both fields, some professionals are trained, but many are self-taught, and neither skills nor ethics are uniformly incorporated into all practitioners' work. Hm. In Ohio, a Professional Engineer is defined as http://www.peps.ohio.gov/4733/473301.aspx Restrictions are outlined at http://www.peps.ohio.gov/4733/4733021.aspx Note the exception for train engineers. Voyager I has travelled almost 20,000,000,000 (thats 20 billion) km since it left earth. But that doesn't mean that the "bottom" "fundamentalist" viewpoint is useless, either. We've had a few guys proclaim themselves as "Software Architects" after just a few years of bug fixing. True, but I bet most people pasting snippets of jQuery into Wordpress would be equally surprised if you called them engineers. Programmers: Stop calling yourself “engineers” Programmers: Stop calling yourself “engineers” Skip navigation Sign in. This is absurd for many reasons pointed out in this thread. It is in principle possible to write bug-free software, after all, software is nothing but a logical artifact. Genetic engineer Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. I think the real cut is not responsibility per se. But fifty years’ worth of attempts to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice have failed. I have a lot of friends who have passed their fundamentals exam (FE) and are on their way to become 'professional' engineers and I can guarantee you many accredited professional engineers do work that I would have a harder time calling engineering than a front end dev creating HTML files. Assistant Web Manager. Seriously though, there are so many kinds of engineering: Software Engineer fits very nicely into this ecosystem. I'd estimate only 30-45% of my time in actually spent 'programming'. I've actually been really enjoying work recently because I've spent the last 2 weeks mainly just programming and its been a lovely change. These are not issues that most startups face. I have two ABET accredited degrees (BSc, MEng), but that doesn't seem to matter in the slightest to a large number of the companies that I've applied to/interviewed with. IMO, That is not engineering! Do not call a heating engineer, call an electrician. But I suppose this is because most defense contracts are regulated based around political and social requirements (see: the advantages for being a disadvantaged minority in getting a defense contract, plus Veteran's preferences) rather than actual functional requirements. No. So the real cause of higher pay is the geographic location and the company. In this article someone who can't handle the fact that there are multiple types of engineers. This is patently false. But degrees and responsibilities are often closely related. No. by Ian Bogost Nov 5, 2015 10 minute What is the equivalent of Newton's Laws, for software? But 'Software Engineer' means what it means - someone who can not only code, but manage, design and perhaps architect. You're drawing a very, very dotted line saying one side is an engineer and the other is not which is just arbitrary. 1742 days ago. San Antonio, Texas
I agree with you that the key is culture. But they're so complex that the mathematical tools of quantum mechanics can't be practically used for chemistry (beyond super simple reactions). In contrast, the doctor has certifications, a professional order, etc. And it's true, for electrical engineering complexity is bounded by cost, even though there can still be a lot of complexity in a cheap chip (but the manufacturer is incentivized to get this exactly right, too). 2 min read. Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. This is absurd. But that also varies state by state. I like to call myself the Doctor of Love, but no one is going to think I'm claiming to be a real medical doctor. And that's because it is real engineering work. The phrase “software engineering” was deliberately chosen as being provocative, in implying the need for software manufacture to be based on the types of theoretical foundations and practical disciplines, that are traditional in the established branches of engineering. > done by programmers who listen to a manager grunt. Turns out those things have nothing to do with the concept of engineering itself, but rather with the kind of legal framework that is appropriate in some businesses that carry a high risk of personal damage to others, and/or with the desire and ability of certain groups to control access to a profession. Second, Let me clarify that the word engineer is more a verb than a noun. A. material, since it's basically applied mathematics, which has traditionally been B. Sc. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/11/programmers-should-not-call-themselves-engineers/414271/. It's just that there are certain niches for professional behavior and those niches have evolved a process to prevent those without appropriate qualifications from marketing themselves using those names. The deeper problem is that most of the industry doesn't seem to care about degrees, much less ABET accrediting. I have not had the operation yet but, you should not discriminate against me. (If you miss your appointment, or call to cancel or reschedule on the day or day before your appointment, you may be charged £25 on your next bill.) Use SpreadsheetGear to enable users to visualize data with comprehensive Excel-compatible charting, which makes creating, modifying, rendering and interacting with complex charts easier than ever before. The author mentioned multiple times that civil engineers build bridges. In my experience, "engineer" conjures the image of a … Sometimes earthquakes bring down buildings and bridges, sometimes tsunamis destroy harbors, sometimes water floods destroy dams, not because engineers are malicious, but simply because it's impossible to do better. The goal is to come up with solutions that anyone can intuitively understand without explanation, regardless of whether they've been using computers their entire life or if this is their first time. (yes, that's apparently a thing). And not all fields have anything like uniform standards. 13/12/10 - 19:54 #6. It would be Realities Of Your Industry 101, because we don’t teach them and this results in … He says the tech industry has "cheapened" the title, and that it's more aspirational than anything else. Engineering is a licensed, publicly regulated profession in many jurisdictions, but even if you don't intend to get licensed (not necessary for most disciplines), engineering students also follow a shared core curriculum which usually includes math up through ordinary differential equations, statics, mechanics of materials, and breadth courses covering general engineering practice. The guy who repairs trains is also an engineer. I agree that EE is the obvious precursor to software, but I think they are very different today. Engineer? So while obviously nobody is physically restraining them from installing AutoCAD, they are not able to meet (common) contractual requirements in engineering work. “Your password contains invalid characters,” a popular tweet quotes from an anonymous website, before twisting the dagger, “No, your startup contains incompetent engineers.”. Sanitation engineers? You're not seriously claiming engineers are never constrained by decisions from superiors, are you? -- Wikipedia" What really matters is the applied scientific knowledge and ingenuity to benefit mankind. We have progressed to the point where lots of products cannot be made without some level of computing. Whereas with software we're often burning GHz chips to perform the same function that 5MHz micros handled just fine. But programmers are not engineers! If you install a hardware circuit, it's going to work the same way until entropy takes its toll. It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. > There has never, ever, ever, been a programmer who has been barred from programming for selling shitty code. All of which are tradeoffs, which means there needs not be a single set-point that is ideal across all fields of engineering. territory. I don't think so. So does the lawyer.". Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10508494, http://www.peps.ohio.gov/4733/473301.aspx, http://www.peps.ohio.gov/4733/4733021.aspx, http://www.peps.ohio.gov/NewsReleases/2014.aspx, http://www.peps.ohio.gov/Exams/ExamDates%7CDisciplines.aspx, http://www.fastcompany.com/28121/they-write-right-stuff, http://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/what-pe. What about the electrical engineer making a portable radio, or a cable? First, it was terribly written and researched and i can only imagine the author had very little respect for his fellow man. In my current job I've started to see first hand a bit more that I previously saw as to how accreditation and licensure matter to other engineering fields and what that means, and it is eye opening to compare to software right now. The headline is so blatantly (click me! You might get lice though. Programmers are not considered to be scientists, technically or otherwise. Safety is achieved by product regulation and testing, rather than a trusted creation process). I think about the implications of security when it comes to APIs and packages. It is like calling CAD drafter, a CAD engineer for all of those times he sweats away on enormous drawings. If you program mathematical models for controlling boosters for satellites, engineering or software? So unlike physical engineering where you necessarily need to run calculations because testing is expensive, you have a tight feedback loop that allows you to tweak a system under test in ways physical engineers could only dream of -- and even so, better simulation tools are already saving physical engineers a lot of number crunching. Remember the Toyota fiasco in 2009/2010 when the cars' gas pedals were getting stuck? The issue of what to call yourself is definitely an ongoing debate within software and computing. If I understand the gist of it, we can't call ourselves engineers because true "engineers" are blessed from on high by some self-ordained group, and given special rings while reciting a poem during a ritual? You might claim that this is just rent seeking similar to a barber certificate. Au contraire! It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. Btw. We solve problems that are important to us. It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. If your program runs on a FPGA, is that engineering or software development? There are no calculations involved. It's interesting, when viewed through the lens of this discussion, EE seems like an early form of software - using specific materials for their ability to stay out of the way, seeking components that are a mathematical ideal, extremely reconfigurable, complexity is the enemy. Does that mean we aren't engineers? We programmers have the luxury to seldom run into the laws of physics as a hard constraint. 0. camer Posts: 5,237. In many cases, quality is sacrificed in favor of speed-of-development. An app that crashes every day is very frustrating, but potentially still worth the price. But software is similar in that every instruction (eg opcode, function, or program statement) has equivalent well-defined behavior. I don't dispute that quality is one of the first things to go at most startups, but to say that software engineers aren't "real" engineers because we have different goals and constraints is absurd. Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Savant Building 631 Cherry Street NW, 1st Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0525. A bridge that falls down is useless. We optimize for fast feedback loops that give us reliable data which we can use to improve the experience of using our product. A. material, since it's basically applied mathematics, which has traditionally been B. Sc. GVU Center. You have to redirect traffic. Somehow, everybody who isn’t in sales, marketing, or design became an engineer. Where does electrical engineering cross into computer engineering, then into software development? That does not take away from the fact that software engineers solve difficult technical problems, which I believe is the essence of engineering. Seriously though, Software Engineers will maintain the status of engineers whether they like it or not. In Germany for example, "doctor" simply implies a PhD/MD or similar (and in fact calling yourself one without a matching degree would be criminally fraudulent) -- although that seems to be changing thanks to the influence of American media and less emphasis on titles (and likely not least because of a large number of politicians having been revealed to have cheated to get their degrees). Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers It undermines a long tradition of designing and building infrastructure in the public interest. The broad brush is especially problematic. Companies that were great at EE--like HP, Sony, Phillips, Toyota--have struggled with software. ABET-accredited BSCS programs are practically that already, but most CS programs don't give a crap about ABET. Your first three bills may be different from what you expect. It's not a matter of fussiness. Ignition lead. Create an account. I’m commiserating with a friend who recently left the technology industry to return to entertainment. I meant literal electronic and mechanical components. Instead of days to apply open source community patches, I only have hours, or maybe minutes. I bet most people that cook food at McDonald's would think you were mocking them if you called them a chef. Also stop calling yourselves architects. I think the author simply has no idea what either field entails, and has proved me now to denigrate the worth of an English major's career. Job searching has become even harder. A lot of certified engineers do nothing more than simple paper pushing, should we start flooding medium with articles about that as well? “I’m not a programmer,” he begins, explaining some of the frustrations of his former workplace, before correcting himself, “—oh, engineer, in tech-bro speak. please! Yet, not many people die or have their lives ruined by barbers. > Until then, you're using one word to refer to two groups of people with wildly different work requirements, and there will always be people complaining about that. top new controversial old random q&a live (beta) Want to add to the discussion? 20 April 2020. Where I come from (Germany), you're not allowed to do car paint jobs unless you're a certified varnisher. > I completely agree with your assessment, except that I don't see CS as being B. Developer, Applications, Web Applications. Electrical engineering at least has a few hundreds years of electricity physics experiments and theory behind it. Search. Software engineer is one of those titles taken by programmers for prestige. I've felt a significant shift in managing websites over the past year due to security. So, scrap the BSCS and replace it with a full-ABET BSSwE and let the people with academic interest in CS get a BACS. It is interesting that you can no longer become a PE with a 4 year degree anymore that I am aware of. In my experience, "engineer" conjures the image of a bore who So many words written protesting a natural evolution of language. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Though to me, engineers are people who build bridges and follow pretty rigid processes for a reason.” Additional Information Groups. Therefore - I'm an engineer - I build buildings (websites) that allow people to do things - be it educational or informational or to sell stuff. This makes sense because trains, planes, and automobiles can't easily be fixed if something goes wrong. Geotechnical engineer Traditional engineers are regulated, certified, and subject to apprenticeship and continuing education. Updating a bridge is logistically difficult. This is probably the result of corporate influence. Software-engineering trends came and went during the ensuing decades. Best Practice Software Engineering - The Project
Thank you, very interesting insights that I hadn't thought about. Perhaps EE was the horse running out the barn door with the term "Engineer", but he's long gone now. You can use the term engineer as long as you don't confuse anybody into thinking you are a real engineer, i.e. On the way "up from the bottom," each time the complexity gets to be too much, we have to invent new mental tools to manage the system at a new level of abstraction. The reason they call themselves software architects is that they're mostly working on software architecture. In theory they are a single stack--chemistry can't violate quantum mechanics, because chemical interactions are just very complex quantum mechanical interactions. Maybe the medical software industry is a better example of regulations in the right place (not that it's well done). A lot of 'cheap' techies are making way more money than officiated engineers, By PE I mean: http://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/what-pe. > Whereas APIs and packages ... change constantly. Whatever. Those are not the same thing (though I doubt a company is likely to hire an engineer who is so bad as to get their license revoked). However, I believe that, in some ways, building a web application is even more difficult. IMO, that is not engineering. The hard part about software engineering is designing for flexibility -- it's ridiculously easy to build software that never changes. Are those engineers? Accomplishing this goal requires building complex systems that can handle interaction from thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of individual people, each with their own unique perspective on life and technology. In Germany SOME Information Technology courses will get you this title instead of the Bachelor of Science. I'm not unsympathetic to the authors views on the lack of certification, and due to fast feedback loops software engineering is very different to traditional engineering fields but there's a. The rest of it is spent (re)designing systems, learning new technologies and techniques, creating infrastructure (monitoring, boxes, AWS structures etc), testing (though this is often programming but of a reasonably different kind) and writing documentation (even if it's not as in-depth as other engineering fields. The only way to make this (frankly uninteresting) argument end is to either hold programmers accountable for quality, or stop holding engineers accountable for quality. I hope you don't mean money is what makes the engineer. 78216-6972
> I can't answer this question, because "components" is too vague a word. Services like Google Docs go down for mysterious reasons, leaving those whose work depends on them in a lurch. Prepaid meter. Apple’s iOS 9 update reportedly “bricked” certain phones, making them unusable. Think Bogost fairly captured the trade. Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers (theatlantic.com) 20 points by wtroughton 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments: kenrose 6 days ago. You are right, in that the BS in Physics is what you take if you want to "do physics", so a BSCS would still be appropriate for those who want to "do computer science". Today’s computer systems pose individual and communal dangers that we’d never accept in more concrete structures like bridges, skyscrapers, power plants, and missile-defense systems. Software-engineering trends came and went during the ensuing decades. Bridges are static.
2020 programmers: stop calling yourselves engineers