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How do you classify yourself?

Posted by malcolmdavis on August 22, 2004 at 6:23 PM PDT

As a way to distinguish themselves from the crowd, people have adorned themselves with such titles as software engineer or architect. If nothing else, someone with several years of programming experience is classified as a senior developer.

If engineering is viewed as nothing more than applied science, then the title of engineer fits someone with a degree in computer science that writes software for a living.

However in some states, a person must be licensed by the state to have the title of engineer. In my own state of Alabama, a local stereo shop called 'Sound Engineers' had to change their name, when it was discovered that store lacked a licensed engineer on the staff.

The title "engineer" is restricted to different degrees by different states. Texas is about the strictest in the US. Furthermore Texas is the only state that offers a license in software engineering.

The basic concept is as follows: "A person presented as an engineer implies to the general public that the individual has completed a rigorous course of study such as that provided by an ABET accredited engineering curriculum, mentorship under experienced engineers, and continuing education and training. The public should know that the engineer is qualified to assess the scientific and mathematic fundamentals relating to a design, problem, or situation and make a reasoned, engineering judgment as it relates to the public good." - J. Brian Dietz, P.E.

Architects have similar categories of competence, education, and license restrictions.

I have seen people with the title application architects that were nothing more than glorified web developers. The fast and loose use of the term engineer & architect, by both companies and developers alike, has diminished the meaning of the terms.

I trust I can develop software with the best of them. However, until we come together as a software society with strict rules of competence, when asked what I do, I will reply, "I just program".

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