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Thread: To all engineers out there: What is it with everyone claiming your title?

  1. #46
    While trained and educated as a civil engineer (water supply and sewerage), I functioned in my last few jobs as an ME and sometimes sales guy (the darkside). To me the most important part of an engineering education was learning a methodical way of thinking and analyzing problems. That coupled with a willingness and thirst to always keep learning is a major characteristic of a good engineer in any discipline. There has never ben a day in my career where I didn't learn something new. It's what keeps me working part time at 70. One of the best "engineers" I have ever worked with never got beyond trade high school. He is one of the most inquisitive, creative, and continuous self-educated people I have ever met. To me he I truly a engineer.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  2. #47
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    The basis is protection of the public. I think a few others have touched on it but as an Engineer or Professional Engineer we hold a duty to the public and if people are claiming to be Engineers then the public could be duped into thinking they are getting a certain level of service when they are not. I believe there was a case where a gentleman claimed to be an engineer in a court case and used that to prove his case but he had no formal education, experience or testing to prove that. There have been too many cases through the years of people practicing engineering where structures have fallen down and killed people. Maybe I am sensitive because I am a Structural Engineer and my job is to save lives. There are many areas of engineering that done wrong will only cost more money in the end or create a hastle for the client / owner. If a Mechanical Engineer sizes an HVAC unit too small then the building occupants will not be comfortable and may be too cold or too hot. if an Electrical Engineer sizes wire too small there could be more serious consequences and it could start a fire.
    Most states hold the term Engineer or Professional Engineer to show that you have education, experience and testing. I worked for one company that called degreed engineers, technologist so that they wouldn't get into trouble with states. It is about holding a higher standard and holding the public welfare paramount. There has to be a certain degree of trust that the public has if they hire an Engineer to do a job. If that trust is eroded then the term Engineer means nothing.

  3. #48
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    One day the project manager showed up on the job with some changes that had to happen on the job. He was a licensed electrical engineer. I looked at the blueprint and told him, "That's not going to work." He replied, "Then you'll have to engineer something that will work." Later, with tongue in cheek, I told one of my guys what happened - an engineer told me to do the engineering. He went out to his car, came back, and handed me an engineer's hat and said, "Now you are an engineer. Get to work!" (He was an avid model train hobbyist.)
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  4. #49
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    Many creatures on this planet do what could be considered engineering, beavers, weaver birds, termites and most all humans, do at some level what could legitimately be called engineering.
    So it would follow that they are engineers by virtue of what they do. Not trained, educated, certified or sophisticated maybe, but at some level they are engineers.

    Anyone falsely claiming to have training, education, skills or certification that they don't have, is a cheat and a liar. that's quite simple.
    Nobody should be able to apply for or get hired for any job for which they are not qualified. That is also quite simple.

    The concept of having training and certification to set acceptable standards for professionals is critical to public safety, no argument there.

    Not everybody without professional education and training is an idiot.
    Not having certification, does not tell you what the person does have.
    They may have studied and they may have not.
    They may be brilliant engineers and they may be idiots.
    Not everyone conforms to the norms of living and learning, some don't fit the normal mode and operate on the fringe, for whatever reason.

    I mentioned Filippo Brunelleschi considered a genius engineer, was trained as a goldsmith, and who could possible have trained him to do what had never been done anyway.
    Sometimes formal education limits the imagining of what might be, by instilling an acceptance of the limits of what is known.
    Having the fringe dwellers working away alone in their basements, trying things that no one else would ever consider, occasionally produces great discoveries.

    As to the OP question; who has the right to the title?

    For me the whole point is that, some people by nature study, analyze, experiment, design, innovate and build, and i guess my question is; what would you call that?

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    ...

    For me the whole point is that, some people by nature study, analyze, experiment, design, innovate and build, and i guess my question is; what would you call that?
    Once upon a time I heard this, "Given unlimited time and resources, anyone could build a rocket to go to the moon. An engineer will design a rocket that is just strong enough for the trip." (Insert your preferred challenge. )

    If the untrained, even tho' a genius, builds a bridge and it falls down, just build a stronger bridge! More beams; bigger bolts; deeper footings. Repeat as necessary.

    If you plan to collect tolls on this bridge, consider the marketing effort to get people to use it when you're on the twelveteenth iteration with eleventyseven casualties.

    Or, hire a competent engineer?
    Molann an obair an saor.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    Once upon a time I heard this, "Given unlimited time and resources, anyone could build a rocket to go to the moon. An engineer will design a rocket that is just strong enough for the trip." (Insert your preferred challenge. )

    If the untrained, even tho' a genius, builds a bridge and it falls down, just build a stronger bridge! More beams; bigger bolts; deeper footings. Repeat as necessary.

    If you plan to collect tolls on this bridge, consider the marketing effort to get people to use it when you're on the twelveteenth iteration with eleventyseven casualties.

    Or, hire a competent engineer?


    Cherry picking parts of a statement, probably means you really don't have much of an argument.

    If you want to discuss what i said, i am more than willing to debate it.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Many creatures on this planet do what could be considered engineering, beavers, weaver birds, termites and most all humans, do at some level what could legitimately be called engineering.
    So it would follow that they are engineers by virtue of what they do. Not trained, educated, certified or sophisticated maybe, but at some level they are engineers.

    Anyone falsely claiming to have training, education, skills or certification that they don't have, is a cheat and a liar. that's quite simple.
    Nobody should be able to apply for or get hired for any job for which they are not qualified. That is also quite simple.

    The concept of having training and certification to set acceptable standards for professionals is critical to public safety, no argument there.

    Not everybody without professional education and training is an idiot.
    Not having certification, does not tell you what the person does have.
    They may have studied and they may have not.
    They may be brilliant engineers and they may be idiots.
    Not everyone conforms to the norms of living and learning, some don't fit the normal mode and operate on the fringe, for whatever reason.

    I mentioned Filippo Brunelleschi considered a genius engineer, was trained as a goldsmith, and who could possible have trained him to do what had never been done anyway.
    Sometimes formal education limits the imagining of what might be, by instilling an acceptance of the limits of what is known.
    Having the fringe dwellers working away alone in their basements, trying things that no one else would ever consider, occasionally produces great discoveries.

    As to the OP question; who has the right to the title?

    For me the whole point is that, some people by nature study, analyze, experiment, design, innovate and build, and i guess my question is; what would you call that?
    I would call them experimenters or technicians, or builders or other things, just NOT engineer.

    Oh, and beavers are not engineers!

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    I would call them experimenters or technicians, or builders or other things, just NOT engineer.

    Oh, and beavers are not engineers!


    Woodworking is simply the act of working with wood.
    A Woodworker is anyone that works with wood, from one end of the scale to the other.
    The terms have no reference to the level of skill, knowledge, training, sophistication or expertise.


    So what then is engineering?
    is it only anything that an engineer does?
    Or is an engineer anyone that does engineering?


    Beavers? Seriously.......MITengineerslogo[1].PNG

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Cherry picking parts of a statement, probably means you really don't have much of an argument.

    If you want to discuss what i said, i am more than willing to debate it.
    Not an argument; just something I thought others might find amusing or at very most thought provoking.

    But if we must...
    Would you be the test pilot for first flight of an airplane built by an 'experimenter'? How about 1st ride on a completely new design of an elevator? Maybe tour scenic Michigan - with you being the 1st crossing the Mackinac bridge - built by a trained goldsmith?
    Molann an obair an saor.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    Not an argument; just something I thought others might find amusing or at very most thought provoking.

    But if we must...
    Would you be the test pilot for first flight of an airplane built by an 'experimenter'? How about 1st ride on a completely new design of an elevator? Maybe tour scenic Michigan - with you being the 1st crossing the Mackinac bridge - built by a trained goldsmith?
    No, i would be afraid to be a test pilot of anything; i am sure Chuck Yeager probable had a few reservations from time to time.

    I have never questioned the skills, knowledge, training or expertise of professional engineers, i have nothing but the highest regard and admiration for them and the profession.
    I have never tried to equate myself or anyone who is not an engineer with someone that is, in anyway.

    All of my life i have designed and built things, i always considered some of it as engineering, at some level. That's all. Not claiming any qualifications or equivalency. Just thought that in principle and approach it was engineering.
    It wasn't until the past few years, that i realized that the opinion has met with such a backlash from engineers, who seem to feel that you are claiming equivalency with them.
    I always assumed that to engineer was a natural thing to do, and that most people did attempt to engineer many things, with vary level of competency on an amateur basis. Some people seem to have a knack for it, an intuitive understanding, some are quite pathetic at it.

    So in your opinion, can someone who is not an engineer, do at some level, what could be considered engineering?

    I of course am not an engineer, so would you say that nothing that i do or have done could, by any stretch, be called engineered?

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    ...

    So in your opinion, can someone who is not an engineer, do at some level, what could be considered engineering?

    I of course am not an engineer, so would you say that nothing that i do or have done could, by any stretch, be called engineered?
    At the risk of cherry picking again...

    In today's world engineering is applied science. (Science, as we are prone to call it, is basic research into the fundamental principles that govern the physical world around us.)

    Engineers are supposed to understand and apply those principles to our everyday lives. Hopefully in a competent manner! Education is NOT the only way to become competent, it just makes it easier and more publicly recognized/accepted.

    If you can sit down at the abacus/chalk board/PC, define a problem, and 'calculate' a solution, I'd call that engineering. If you have to try 387 iterations, guessing what went wrong with each failure, estimating an improvement, then rinse and repeat (i.e unlimited resources) until the light stays on... that is experimenting. Yes, the engineer may experience failure, but in a minimum number of iterations, they find a solution. And yes, the experimenter may stumble on a first attempt epiphany, but many more hit the wall of limited resources.

    Was Da Vinci an artist, a scientist, an engineer, experimenter, ... or other??? I'd argue he was functionally all of those things - - but in terms of today's roles he was none of them. Today's roles get tossed out the window if you go back in time - - and not too terribly far at that. The basic science was unknown, or in the process of discovery, so how could anyone apply it?

    (If I told my boss I needed 387 iterations to 'get it right', he'd tell me to use 2 on the project at hand - and the other 385 polishing my resume.)
    Molann an obair an saor.

  12. #57
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    "Molann an obair an saor." Doesn't mention anything about judging him by how long or what route he took to get there.



  13. #58
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    I, like many, enjoy problem solving:

    a big part of that is studying, predicting, experimenting, analyzing failures and redesigning. But surely this is also considered "research into the fundamental principles that govern the physical world around us" ?


    Failure teaches many valuable lessons.( I am well schooled in this department.)


    Problem solving is two parts; 1. imagination: to conceive of a solution. and 2. Engineering, to figure out how to make it.
    My belief is that many of us do this regularly on an amateur level.


    I happen to agree with you that people should be judged by what they achieve.
    Last edited by Mark Hennebury; Yesterday at 6:43 PM. Reason: punctuation

  14. #59
    I fall into the camp of limiting the title of "Engineer" to those who receive a degree in engineering (or who drive trains). If we don't have some definition, everyone can claim the title.

    Years ago, I was a long distance runner. A woman friend of my wife showed me a picture of her in running clothes and said, "This is me after my first marathon." Now, people who run marathons have a certain body configuration - the training tends to make the runner fairly lean.

    So I said to her, "Was that a 26 mile marathon?'

    And she replied, "No, it was a 3 mile marathon."

    She wanted to be able to say she was a marathon runner without putting in the time and training to really do a marathon.

    So my answer is, "If you want to be called an engineer, get an engineering degree." (or drive a train)

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    I fall into the camp of limiting the title of "Engineer" to those who receive a degree in engineering (or who drive trains). If we don't have some definition, everyone can claim the title.

    Years ago, I was a long distance runner. A woman friend of my wife showed me a picture of her in running clothes and said, "This is me after my first marathon." Now, people who run marathons have a certain body configuration - the training tends to make the runner fairly lean.

    So I said to her, "Was that a 26 mile marathon?'

    And she replied, "No, it was a 3 mile marathon."

    She wanted to be able to say she was a marathon runner without putting in the time and training to really do a marathon.

    So my answer is, "If you want to be called an engineer, get an engineering degree." (or drive a train)

    Mike
    This is not the case in what i am arguing and it should be fairly obvious to all.

    To claim to be a marathon runner when you are not is simple lying.

    But for both of you to claim to be runners is not, different level runners, but both runners, because both of you run.

    So it seems that you are trying to say that everyone that calls themselves a runner is claiming to be a marathon runner and that is simple not true.

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