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Career Advice: Don't Call Yourself a Programmer 422

Ian Lamont writes "Patrick McKenzie has written about the do's and don't's of working as a software engineer, and some solid (and often amusing) advice on how to get ahead. One of the first pieces of advice: 'Don't call yourself a programmer: "Programmer" sounds like "anomalously high-cost peon who types some mumbo-jumbo into some other mumbo-jumbo." If you call yourself a programmer, someone is already working on a way to get you fired.' Although he runs his own company, he is a cold realist about the possibilities for new college grads in the startup world: 'The high-percentage outcome is you work really hard for the next couple of years, fail ingloriously, and then be jobless and looking to get into another startup.'"
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Career Advice: Don't Call Yourself a Programmer

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  • by sichbo ( 1188157 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @12:59PM (#37879834) Homepage
    In Canada, it's illegal to practice engineering, or call yourself one, without a engineers license. There's nothing worse than retards who get a college degree in programming and start calling themselves "engineers". It's an insult to every actual certified engineer in the world.
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @01:21PM (#37880010)

    In Canada the degree does not matter. No one, no matter what qualifations can call themseleves and engineer unless they are a professional engineer.

    To be a professional engineer they must be a member of their provincial professional engineering association. This is roughly equivalent toa US lawyer being a member of the bar for a particular US state. The idea is that "Engineers" are professionals and to call yourself one you must be a member of the professional assiation.

    What is a professional engineer (Ontario Professional Engineers Organization)->

    Most civil and a high percentage of those who graduate from mechanical engineering do become professional engineers. It gets you the official STAMP which is used to mark building and machine documents. Most electrical engineering college graduates do not. Those who work in power engineering do. In Canada the main reason to become a professional engineer is to get your stamp. If your job requires you to stamp designs then you will get your professional engineering membership.

    Very few software projects get engineering stamps. The link above also discusses the seal.


  • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by etymxris ( 121288 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @01:30PM (#37880094)

    Programming seems easy to you and me, but you would be surprised at how many people just cannot do it no matter how much training you give them. Anyone can clean, most people can do construction. Maybe 1 in 10 people could program if they really wanted to, and only 1 in 10 of those will actually want to.

  • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Informative)

    by anonymov ( 1768712 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @02:48PM (#37880698)

    Well, filling in a bunch of formulas IS a form of dataflow programming [].

    It is easy for non-programmers because it quite closely maps real-world calculations on a sheet of paper to the computer screen - just fill in the initial values and write down formulas without worrying about operations ordering. VisiCalc and those who polished the concept after them did a pretty nice job.

    On a side note, Visicalc authors' [] notes [] make for quite an interesting read.

  • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Informative)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday October 29, 2011 @03:06PM (#37880830)

    If you wanted to work in the gaming industry, would you rather want to be a coder or actually the game designer?

    Bad analogy there. Game designers are about as far from programming as possible. You see plenty of game designer/level designer people or game designer/storywriters, you see some game designer/artist people (particularly in Japan), and you even see some game designer/musician people. I can't name of the top of my head a single game designer/programmer who isn't an indie developer (where everyone is a bit of everything, really).

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.