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

  1. #16
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    Filippo Brunelleschi

  2. #17
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    Engineers have been around since the beginning of time, degrees..... not so long.

  3. #18
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    I hear that structural engineers refer to architects as engineers who can not do math.
    Bill D

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Over-sensitive? Maybe not, but perhaps a little pendantic.

    Insert the word "professional" into your definition above, and I think it will resolve everything.

    The term engineer can rightly be used for all sorts of applications ranging from machine and building maintenance to operation of a locomotive train to the person who oversees the engine of an aircraft or vessel, to other more artful applications.
    However, a Professional Engineer is generally more regulated and specific a title. Next time you meet an engineer who is qualified to seal drawings, ask for his/her business card, and I will bet good money the title will read Professional Engineer, not just Engineer. I hope this helps,
    Terminology might be influenced by culture as well. What are called A & P (airframe & powerplant) mechanics in the U.S. are referred to as engineers in the British Islands of the Caribbean, not sure about Canada. There is specialized training and certification involved so perhaps engineer is more accurate in that case.

  5. #20
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    I'm an electrical technologist.

    My job function is Maintenance Engineering. In the company I work for, non engineers who perform an engineering function are called Engineering Associates because we aren't engineers and cannot call ourselves such.

    That's why my business card say Senior Power Systems Engineering Associate. ( I always joke that it means I hang around in bars with Engineers).

    I have friends and family members who are Engineers, they all feel that unless you're a P.Eng, you're not really an Engineer, you simply have a BSc in Engineering.

    So yes, people who aren't engineers shouldn't call themselves such. Now there are occupations such as Operating Engineers who are not Engineering people, they're licensed trades people however they have the legal right to use Operating Engineer in their title, a hold over from the early days of steam and "Engineer".............Regards, Rod.

  6. #21
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    In my state, and I assume others, a business or individual who advertises their services as engineering without a license is subject to fines and cease and desist orders from the state licensing board.

  7. #22
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    I am not an engineer, but I have been in various industries where the "Engineer" title has been used for non-degree'd individuals--e.g. Field Application Engineer. Generally, the tittle is intended to designate a highly technical role where the individual understands the "why" something works and not just the "how" to use it or "how" to fix it when it breaks.

    I should point out that I am a Ph.D., but do not require people to address me as "Dr.".

  8. #23
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    I've never called myself an engineer, but have done a ton of genetic engineering. Though I have a PhD I'd never consider calling myself a doctor.

    I aspire to learn to drive a (steam) road locomotive, once I have qualified at that I would consider calling myself an engineer.

    Someone calling themselves a licensed professional engineer without the appropriate qualifications would bother me, any other use not so much.

    20140620-DSC_5662.jpg

  9. #24
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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
    My son and some other architects I know passed the PE exams. Not easy. Math was required.

    JKJ

  10. #25
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    Having received a BSME (Magna Cum Laude) degree many, many years ago I've always considered the person representing themselves as engineers, whether in development/application of engineering principles, as in design, or in actual application of established engineering principles to work related activities. By this I mean that regardless of the engineering degree achieved I've wondered more about the person having the degree, i.e. how well does he present himself in terms of acquired knowledge. Is he/she convincing, does he/she display a broad acumen of his field, do I have to wonder if he/she graduated at the bottom of his/her class, do I feel comfortable with the quality of service he/she is providing me or others, does the person stand behind his/her work, etc.?

    In short, I feel the person behind the title, i.e. with demonstration of knowledge & application, is as important as the title itself, and I have to admit bias in that there are distinctions amongst colleges & universities in terms of quality of education. Yet, I fully appreciate that a person at the top of his/her class in a less than ivy league school can be far more capable than one graduating from an ivy league school.

    A title is great as it portrays discipline and commitment to acquire the engineering degree, yet I place equal importance on the individual.

    As an aside, I wish the politicians were engineers rather than lawyers - at least we could get things done right the first time and get those fixed that weren't!
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  11. #26
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    I'm a degreed engineer. I don't care if others get the title. I'm not 'certified' or 'licensed'. The degree engineers get the degree engineer jobs mainly thru the hiring process. Civils are a different story. The only problem I see with calling non-degreed people engineers is selfish: it makes job searching harder. : )

    The oddest 'engineer' title I see is the building maintenance jobs at hotels often get called engineer. That's odd to me, but I guess it comes from somewhere.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    The oddest 'engineer' title I see is the building maintenance jobs at hotels often get called engineer. That's odd to me, but I guess it comes from somewhere.
    Probably since they traditionally maintained things like pumps, heating plant, electrical, elevator.

    The dictionary defines an engineer
    as a person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or public works.
    or a person who uses science, math and creativity to solve technical problems.

    Synonyms: designer, planner, builder, architect, producer, fabricator, developer, creator; inventor, originator, deviser, contriver, mastermind
    Origin: Middle English (denoting a designer and constructor of fortifications and weapons; formerly also as ingineer ): in early use from Old French engigneor, from medieval Latin ingeniator, from ingeniare ‘contrive, devise’, from Latin ingenium (see engine)

    Not a word about a degree in the dictionary I checked.

    I grew thinking an engineer drove a train. I wanted to do that when I grew up. Maybe I will if I ever grow up.

    JKJ

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Probably since they traditionally maintained things like pumps, heating plant, electrical, elevator.

    I grew thinking an engineer drove a train. I wanted to do that when I grew up. Maybe I will if I ever grow up.

    JKJ
    When I was in the Navy (the first time) I was a Machinist's Mate, but I never operated a lathe or mill. MMs operated, maintained and repaired the ship's steam propulsion and auxiliary equipment. When I got out I went through the grades and eventually got a First Grade Stationary Engineer's license, which qualified me to operate any size/pressure (stationary) steam power plant.

  14. #29
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    It's pretty clear that nobody has a lock on the word engineer. In most states, if you're a Civil Engineer or Mechanical Engineer, and provide services to the public in that capacity you have have to be licensed or certified, and thus probably need a specific degree. Ditto for Electrical Engineers. But I've worked for years with people who are hired and their careers judged and advanced as Software Engineers, often working alongside Biomedical Engineers. There are degree programs in Software Engineering in many schools, but most people working in that capacity don't come from one of those schools. IEEE offers certification in Software Engineering, but I've never seen it required as part of a job qualification, and interestingly, the base requirement for certification is a degree in Computer Science, not Engineering. To my knowledge, there is no state licensure for Software Engineers. Biomedical Engineers are typically from true engineering degree programs, often in EE. But again, no state licensure requirements that I know of.

    There are hundreds of other job title uses of the word engineer, many already mentioned here. Most have as much to do with the actual discipline of engineering as being Lieutenant Governor has to being a Lieutenant Colonel.

    For what it's worth, though, I think Software Engineering is a genuine engineering discipline that draws from the general discipline of engineering and which is distinct from Computer Science, or computer programming as a skill. By way of analogy, a Computer Scientist is to Physicist as Software Engineer is to Mechanical Engineer as a Coder or Computer Programmer is to a highly skilled machinist. Anyone who has ever managed a team building a large complex system knows why all that matters.

  15. #30
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    Hoo boy... lotsa discussion,here and elsewhere. I hold a BS (EE) and a M Eng. Am I an engineer? I can design stuff, I have interpreted and applied national and industry standards to internal working practices documents, and a few other things. I am NOT a “Registered Professional Engineer” - never took the test. So, ya’ll tell me please, what do you think? Am I an engineer? I’m recently retired, so it doesn’t matter to me much either way, this is mostly rhetorical and for fun!
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" - anon

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