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"Engineer" (Was: Tech contact for Qwest?)

  • From: David Brouda
  • Date: Sun Aug 22 17:19:07 1999

I have to agree with the statement that the title of Engineer is thrown
about a great deal.

Two of the definitions of an "engineer" are:

 - a person who is trained in or follows as a profession a branch of
 - a person who carries through an enterprise by skillful or artful contrivance

(Engineering can be defined as: the application of science and mathematics
by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are
made useful to people)

A "profession" is defined as:

 - a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive
academic preparation

<Definitions from Merriam Webster,>

I have been working as an "Engineer" (by title) for an ISP for the past
three and a half years.  I am also entering my fifth year in a five year
undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum.  In school we are taught
what it means to be an "engineer" and what a "professional,"
"professionalism" are. Almost all engineering students at every college and
university are taught 'engineering ethics.'  The National Society of
Professional Engineers has a code of ethics which has six fundamental

Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.

2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.

3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.

5. Avoid deceptive acts.

6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as
to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.

<National Society of Professional Engineers,>

Most engineering societies and professional organizations have similar
codes of ethics.

Now, I have mentioned three key words: engineer, professional, and ethics.
As a student of engineering, I believe that these three words go
hand-in-hand. While I am not trying to lecture anyone, I am merely trying
to point out what an engineer really is. You don't have to have a degree or
be part of a professional organization to be an engineer, you merely have
to be trained with specialized knowledge in the application of mathematics
and science and use that knowledge in a manner that will benefit the public.

Of course, anyone can call themselves, or be called, or be given the title
of engineer; but, that doesn't mean they are an engineer. (The English
language has words that have specific meanings. By using the words for
something they were not intended for, we make those words lose their
original meaning.)

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. The above statements are merely
the opinions which I have formed over the past four years.

Someone else can feel free to define and discuss what an "operator" and
"technician" are and how those are different from what an "engineer" is.

David Brouda
Four-Fifths of an Engineer by education, one year by application; One year
operator by application and one and a half years technician by application.