ifacethoughts

Where Is The Engineering In Your Work?

Ravi Mohan is very close to getting a lot of employers upset by explaining how a lot of software professionals, who are given the post of a software engineers, are in fact not engineers.

If you don’t use mathematics in your day to day work, you aren’t (an engineer). All engineers (say those who build bridges, or space craft, or cars) make heavy use of mathematics and/or hard sciences like Physics on a regular basis.

I concur, and I also agree that not being an engineer demotes or downgrades me. I see a lot of value in software world in non-engineering activities, and many of them are critical ones. I see only a handful of us doing engineering activities and rest of us reusing them.

But bestowing a post of an engineer is a trick used by the employer to retain talent. It is shameful to not have a post of an engineer when you have an engineering degree in hand! I think this is one of the biggest reasons why many potential and aspiring engineers land elsewhere. It is not the post or the degree that makes you an engineer, it is the nature of work and to some extent the aptitude. As I said everyone does not have to be an engineer, but know what you are doing and consciously choose to go by it. Do not go by the post or the degree.

Having said this, I think this applies in a lot of other industries as well. I have Mechancial Engineer friends who do nothing else but supervise other people trying to fit the mould or those who are trying to justify delays to the clients. It is the same with a lot of Electrical Engineers and Civil Engineers. I have come to a conclusion that employers use the term engineer to attract and retain good talent, and that is where they are playing you.

Every solution has some engineering underneath, but it might come from someone else. Many times it gets hidden under a lot of jargon and layers. If you are interested, maybe you can look for the engineering behind solutions you work on. In my opinion that will be a much better training than the education degree you might get to be an engineer.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Matt Farina said:

    I’m not sure I agree that it has to be about math to be an engineer but otherwise I agree. But, when it doesn’t have to be about math there is something else there such as the parts of architecture that don’t involve math. Though, I guess I’d say the foundation for much of that is past math.

    But, overall… I have to agree with what you have to say.

    It’s a shame we don’t treat non-engineering jobs well. That we have to sell them off to get people to get into them. I know a lot of real engineers who can’t stand what they do but do it to have the title. And, some who do something else and are much happier in jobs where they aren’t titled engineer.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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