Just An Engineer

As opposed to JustaProgrammer (or JustAnIdiot) or SoftwareArchitect.

They are different in subtle ways, aren't they? In all the ways that are important. Maybe not any more. Traditions are changing.

I often make the division between JustaProgrammer and SoftwareEngineer. The differences are not so subtle, regarding expertise, education, ways of working and several other things. Note that a SoftwareEngineer does not necessarily need a degree.

It does now. Canada has now certified software engineering degrees.

It's an interesting topic. From the JustaProgrammer page, it seemed to me that the WikiMind felt there was no difference between SoftwareArchitect, SoftwareEngineer, and SoftwareProgrammer. However, this may be more of an Xp thing than a Wiki thing. For myself, I see these as distinct while not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Professional Awareness in Software Engineering by TomDeMarco (http://www.atlsysguild.com/GuildSite/TDM/Professionalism.html)

After reading this article, it seems the key distinguishing factor that makes one an Engineer is professionalism.

A true professional is one that is committed on doing his job right. If it weren't a profession, it would just be a job. I wouldn't go to a doctor if he were not committed on making me healthier. Also I would expect all professionals at hospitals to make sure that they are doing their job right and if they fail, that should be on record. This kind of happens anyway, because good doctors have no time available. That's a pity because when you really need them, they are not available for you.

In ancient China, when people got sick, they fired the doctors. Doctors were hired as long as people would remain healthy. They were so good that they rener themselves unnecessary. That's my idea of being professional.
An academic degree does not necessarily ensure an engineer's mindset. I have no higher degree than the Baccalaureat (french equivalent of, IIRC, A levels or high school diploma), being largely self-taught, but I have no qualms about calling myself an engineer. Another interesting distinction to look at might be JustaDeveloper?. -- LaurentBossavit

I agree. It's a mindset, not a degree. -- WayneConrad
Today someone can spend years to get their degree or their masters or a phd in mechanical engineering or geomatics or what have you and have the title of engineer or they can also get a diploma in 6 months in some field and call themselves an engineer when they should be calling themselves an engineering technician. The difference will be though that the one with the degree will design and develop something and the guy with the 6 month diploma will only know how to use it. It's like if I were a lab technician and called myself a scientist. So it is legally, not just semantically, the degree, not the mindset, that truly defines an engineer.

As well an engineer takes an oath, and is legally bound to the profession to uphold to the greatest of their ability the safety of the public or they could face prosecution and be stripped of the title "PEng". This is clearly a comment from a Canadian, since in the US the term is generally P.E. or PE, although is refers to the same thing. Since very few American "engineers" are PEs, outside of those requiring the licence for their business, the whole "professional" engineer issue is more likely of interest in the Canadian context, especially where it relates to SoftwareEngineering. -- PeterHansen

Therefore that degree defines what that person should be capable of or the diploma that defines what they are not capable of. Of course there are those that learn all there is to know about a subject without any formal education behind them and they fall in their own class of people, InquiringMinds I suppose. And it is an inquiring mind that will have the true passion for the subject that could make all the difference. So how's that for confusing the issue?! --Nancy Neyedly (NotAnEngineer?)

Nitpick... for engineers it's not an oath, it's an obligation.

Nitpicking the nitpicks... if you're talking about the IronRingCeremony in Canada, it is not directly related to the profession of engineering, but is an orthogonal vehicle set up in the early 1900s by Canadian engineers to establish a stronger sense of values and brotherhood among engineers. And if that's not what you were talking about, I believe neither Canadian nor US engineers have to take either an oath or an obligation. -- PeterHansen
See also JustaSoftwareEngineer, JustAnArchitect, AfterTheGoldRush

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