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Programming IT Technology

Are Programmers Engineers? 1002

Posted by timothy
from the let-the-french-academy-decide dept.
The Llama King writes "The Houston Chronicle has an interesting story about a debate in the Texas Legislature over whether programmers are really engineers. A quote: " 'It's one of the silliest issues we're having to deal with this session, but it's also one of the most important,' said Steven Kester, legislative director of the American Electronics Association, an organization of computer companies." Are you really an engineer? Or just a code-monkey?"
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Are Programmers Engineers?

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  • Dubya (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0x7F (158643) <slashdot @ t p o p> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:51PM (#5627283) Homepage
    "Texas is becoming a laughingstock of the global high-technology community," said Steve Taylor, director of corporate affairs for Applied Materials.

    They said the same thing when our governer ran for President, but that turned out all right.

    Well... sort of...
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:53PM (#5627298) Homepage Journal

    1: Ask the question, "Are Programmers Engineers?" on a tech-oriented website.

    2: Well... pretty much any other question, but No. 1 is the humdinger granddaddy of all waltzing in a minefield questions.

    And just to get things started, "Yes."

  • by heldlikesound (132717) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:55PM (#5627313) Homepage
    These things pretty much drive themselves now, engineers are just there if something goes wrong, you know, a cow walks onto the tracks or a drunk college kid stumbles and passes out in the crossing...
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sayten241 (592677) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:58PM (#5627322)
    If garabage collecters can be "sanitation engineers" and housewives can be "domestic engineers" then why the hell not programmers. =P
  • by LPetrazickis (557952) <leo,petr+slashdot&gmail,com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:07PM (#5627393) Homepage Journal
    Programmers are now "Simian Engineers".:)
  • by megazoid81 (573094) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:18PM (#5627479)
    Pessimist: "The glass is half-empty."

    Optimist: "The glass is half-full."

    Engineer: "The glass is twice as big as it needs to be."

    Programmer: "Who cares? Just drink the free beer!"

  • by RWarrior(fobw) (448405) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:21PM (#5627498)
    ... you insensitive clod!
  • by Beliskner (566513) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:23PM (#5627509) Homepage
    On what you studied, here i took a 5 college year course including physics 1 & 2, thermodynamics, calculs, adv calculus and all the regular programming/db/hw subjects

    I EARNED the right to be a Software Engineer.
    Same here. Whenever I collect my welfare check I have to remind myself of this fact.
  • by devphil (51341) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:35PM (#5627595) Homepage

    Journeying from city to city looking for a job doesn't count.

    (Okay, sorry, couldn't resist. I recognize the word, too, and I agree that this is a Good Thing To Be.)

  • Re:Dubya (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:38PM (#5627611)
    I Must be an engineer because Microsoft and Novell both say so! Take that Texas.

    Joe Carlson
    CNE lo _Webcam

  • by Jester99 (23135) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:38PM (#5627913) Homepage
    So you wanna start a heated debate? Your way takes too much effort. I'll start one that'll get even hotter, with far less effort:



  • by NeuroKoan (12458) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @05:28PM (#5628132) Homepage Journal
    There was a conference once (I don't remember what or where, this is an ancedote from a professor of mine) wherin, the speaker asked "How many of you here would fly in an airplane controlled by software you were on the design team of?"

    Everyone just sat there, looking around to see who would be the first to raise their hand. Finally a man near the back raised his hand. The speaker asked him "You feel that confident about your software, do you?"

    He replies, "No. I just know that if my company was writing the software, the plane wouldn't even make it out of the terminal"
  • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@etoyo c . com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @05:45PM (#5628193) Homepage Journal

    Homeland secretary has raised the terror alert to code orange in response to overheating toaster coils...

    The Bush administration points to a recent survey that nine out of ten americans thing their pests are psychic as proof of the resolve of the public on the Middle East invasion (oops) Iraq War....

  • by whoppo (218875) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:30PM (#5628352)
    Back in the day when I was programming for Lockheed, they called me a "Software Engineer"... but now that I think about it, I've *always* loved bananas.
  • by swillden (191260) <> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @08:18PM (#5628827) Homepage Journal

    Scientists are thought.

    Every scientist I've ever met had a definite corporeal aspect as well. A lot of young scientists wish they could be pure, disembodied thought, but they grow out of it.

  • by randyest (589159) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @08:25PM (#5628845) Homepage
    there is nothing you can come up with that engineers or programmers produce that cannot be described as a tool

    The fruit . . . hanging so low . . . must resist . . but can't . . .

    I assume your parents were engineers and/or programmers, since this tautology pretty much make you look like a tool. IMHO. :)

    Seriously, cmon. Stop with that. Sure, everything is a tool because you can USE it. That pretty much defines a tool, right? So, basically, since anything can be USED in some way or another, even if that way is silly or not-yet apparent, everything is a tool. Including you. (And, alas, me -- to ward of that inevitable comeback in advance).

    Lots of professions involve making tools. In fact, just about any profession (being done well, at least) will involve more tool-making than anything else (remember, a better procedure is a tool, since it can be used too -- see the pointlessness?).

    That doesn't make it engineering. And it doesn't equate engineering and programming.

    That reminds me of this one:

    A programmer, a hardware engineer and a departmental manager were on their way to a meeting. They were driving down a steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The car careened almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the crash barriers, until it miraculously ground to a halt scraping along the mountainside. The car's occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a problem: they were stuck halfway down a mountain in a car with no brakes. What were they to do? "I know," said the departmental manager," Let's have a meeting, propose a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a process of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical Problems, and we can be on our way."

    "No, no," said the hardware engineer, "That will take far too long, and besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army knife with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."

    "Well," said the programmer, "before we do anything, I think we should push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2003 @02:37AM (#5630140)
    What do you think engineers use, iambic pentameter?

    We define a function called C
    A boolean its output should be
    If C equals 1
    Then function D we will run
    If it's 0 we call function E

    I don't know about engineers...but if the gcc guys pull their finger out then at least the code-monkeys could start using iambic pentameter. What am I thinking..code-monkeys understand iambic pentameter? You'll need an engineer to show them how.

  • by PhipleTroenix (240551) on Monday March 31, 2003 @07:27AM (#5630654)
    I had a professor who claimed anytime you had to append "science" to something it meant that it wasn't. Computer Sicence, Political Science, etc.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie