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

  1. #31
    Origin of 'Engineer' 1350–1400; engine + -eer; replacing Middle English engin(e)our < Anglo-French engineor Old French engigneor < Medieval Latin ingeniātor, equivalent to ingeniā(re ) to design, devise (verbal derivative of ingenium; see engine) + Latin -tor -tor
    Out of all that gobbledygook, I find the words: "to design, devise". Pretty simple, and pretty much exactly what I've always thought engineers do. And since 'design, devise' can be applied to practically anything, then pretty much anyone who thinks they're an engineer, is an engineer.

    Because of that, the word 'engineer' doesn't do much for me. Too generic. Now, the term used PRECEDING the word 'engineer' that's the important one...


  2. #32
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    On fire depts, the guy driving the truck normally is called the Engineer. Another holdover from the days of steamboats, steam trains and steam fire pumps. Has to be well versed with the driving, operating the pumps, and aerial ladders on fire equipment. Been that way since horses.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  3. #33
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    I have a B.S. in Computer Science and spent 30 years developing software applications and Windows services. Sometimes I was Senior Programmer, sometimes I was Software Engineer. I was also an IVR Engineer as well as Senior Microsoft Systems Engineer. I was even called a Software Architect. It all just a matter of words. I was more interested in the amount of pay and the challenges I encountered. My most cherished title was Microsoft MVP.

    I can understand a company elevating your title if they are selling your serves or products. But most of my work was internal to the companies I worked for so there was no reason for the titles. In some cases others with my skill levels and similar work had more normal titles.

    Now my favorite titles are Dad, Retired, Woodworker and Pit Master.
    Marshall
    ---------------------------
    A Stickley fan boy.

  4. #34
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    Retired degreed civil engineer here (Michigan State 1969). Passing an 8 hour technical test fresh out of school, and another 8 hour practical applications test five years later administered by the state allowed me to add professional to my title. As our company was doing work out of state and needed a stamp, I was able to become registered in at least 8 states by reciprocity (no test needed, just references and proof of licensing in another state). The term engineer is somewhat generic, the term professional engineer is not.
    NOW you tell me...

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I hear that structural engineers refer to architects as engineers who can not do math.
    Bill D
    Actually they are often referred to as "cartoonists" when some of their designs meet the real world..
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Actually they are often referred to as "cartoonists" when some of their designs meet the real world..
    That's exactly what they said to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 when he designed the lily pad columns for the SC Johnson and Son's Wax building in Racine. The Building Department, under the advice of it's engineers required a test column to be built to demonstrate the capacity to carry 12 tons of load, certain that it would not. FLW loaded it with 60 tons (5x requirement) before it cracked.

    It's a great story https://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/sc..._interior.html

    Someone in this thread mentioned Fillipo Brunelleschi who was an even more extreme example of an architect way beyond the engineering knowledge of the time, even centuries afterwards. There isn't even a word to properly describe Brunelleschi's genius.

  7. #37
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    I have a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from a major university, therefore I am an Engineer. Some Engineers get Professional certification - that does not make them better, just passed a test for legal purposes. 90+% of Engineers don't have Professional certification or the need for it. That doesn't make them any less qualified to be called an Engineer. There are lots of engineers out there doing maintenance, running trains, what have you. We all know they are not Engineers. Thats it.

  8. My definition of an engineer is someone who can use scientific and engineering principles to solve a problem that hasn't been solved before.

    Someone who creates something using accepted standards is a designer. So, for example, a designer can design a stud wall, using commonly accepted materials, and it'll work fine. An engineer can do the math to determine exactly how to design that wall to support a specific amount of weight.

    I spent a chunk of my career doing what I would call "software development," aka "programming," which is basically just piecing together existing chunks of code to do something new. Only a couple of times did I do "software engineering," which involved using turning math into software, or developing more abstract things like software architectures. I spent another chunk doing "systems development," which was mostly building training devices (like flight simulators) out of commercial products for the armed forces. Once or twice I did "systems engineering," where I had to pull out some textbooks and apply broader scientific and mathematical principles to meet a particular system requirement. (And BTW, I picked up an MS in Systems Engineering along the way).

    The company I work for now has a stable full of what they call Software Engineers, very few of whom could engineer their way out of a paper bag. They're great programmers though.

  9. #39
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    Just to clear things up because people tend to think that no P.E. (US based) tested engineers aren't real engineers... Usually only Civil (sometimes Mech) really requires this. This comes from signing off on large civil projects (roads, bridges, oil platforms, etc). This does NOT mean that engineers with the P.E. are not 'real' engineers. This is my understanding of P.E.

    My step brother is P.E. because his company demanded it of him (refinery building business). I am not a P.E. because I work on turbomachinery equipment for refineries. I don't need one. I took the test in college, but never took the follow up test. I didn't have to. Nor do I want to open myself up for lawsuits for no reason. There are rules when it comes to contracting yourself out that may require the P.E. title. On that, I'm not sure. I think it varies state to state.

    However, I deal with metallurgy, welding, systems, sometimes controls, aerodynamics, mechanical integrity, testing, etc on a regular basis. I fully consider myself an engineer. I also deal with Chem E's as customers on a regular basis. I suspect most of them are not P.E.'s either. Many many engineers are not P.E.'s and are definitely engineers.

  10. #40
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    In some states, it is a legal requirement to be a PE (or at least an EIT) to use the title engineer. Texas is pretty fierce about defending this
    From the Texas Board of Professional Engineers

    "Graduates of all public universities recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities who have a degree from an ABET engineering program have the right to disclose any college degrees received and use the title "Graduate Engineer" on stationery, business cards, and personal communications of any character. A graduate engineer who is employed by a registered firm and who is supervised by a licensed professional engineer may use the term "engineer". Refer to the Texas Engineering Practice Act, Section 1001.406."

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall Harrison View Post
    ...But most of my work was internal to the companies I worked for so there was no reason for the titles.
    Sure there is: Resume


  12. #42
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    I certainly did not mean to imply that you must be licensed to be a "real" engineer. Nearly all civil engineers in private or public practice I know were licensed. My BIL graduated a few years before me, also from Michigan State with a degree in civil engineering. He worked for American Bridge as a shop and field engineer as well as eventually in charge of nearly 600 employees in their TX fabrication facility. Projects he worked on dwarfed any thing I had ever done. John Hancock center, and a major wind tunnel were two I remember. My dad (a PE and RLS) always encouraged him to get licensed, he never did as it wasn't needed for what he did.
    NOW you tell me...

  13. #43
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    Interesting! I am at the opposite spectrum: although I am a "real Electrical Engineer" I never had in my 35 years professional life that word included in my job functions!

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    That's exactly what they said to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937 when he designed the lily pad columns for the SC Johnson and Son's Wax building in Racine. The Building Department, under the advice of it's engineers required a test column to be built to demonstrate the capacity to carry 12 tons of load, certain that it would not. FLW loaded it with 60 tons (5x requirement) before it cracked.

    It's a great story https://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/sc..._interior.html

    Someone in this thread mentioned Fillipo Brunelleschi who was an even more extreme example of an architect way beyond the engineering knowledge of the time, even centuries afterwards. There isn't even a word to properly describe Brunelleschi's genius.
    FAIK all the building he designed had roof problems either sag or leaks. I read that at falling water the contractor doubled the steel in one of the main beams. this has allowed it to last with minimal cracking until modern engineers rebuilt the beam in the last decade.
    Bill D

  15. #45
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    I was a practicing electrical engineer in a highly technical area for nearly all of my career. I have been in a position to hire several engineers and then work with them during that time. I can tell you that there are lots of degreed engineers from highly respected schools who don't know how to do anything technical and are too conceited to learn from people who do. More than one of them passed the PE test. I have also worked with a lot of people who focused their efforts on a particular discipline and became experts at it without having a degree of any kind. I have learned that the title doesn't necessarily mean anything.

    Having said that, I acknowledge that there are certain technical fields that would be nearly impossible to become competent in without considerable formal training. I do not mean to minimize the value of formal education.

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