I don't think the PE is necessarily the solution or what I'm talking about here. I think anyone who's passed through an accredited college engineering program should be able to call themselves an engineer. What gets under my skin is people who tinker and think that allows them to use the title, EVEN IF THEY DESIGN REAL STUFF. The fact of the matter is that the PC and the Internet erased the line between professional and amateur. Any idiot who's messed around with a PC thinks they know technology, and they don't.
Your point raises a question, Alex. Why is virtually every doctor licensed, but not every engineer? Most of us wouldn't consider going to an unlicensed physician, but many great engineers never have a need for a PE. The engineer's situation is similar to that of the accountant: Many accountants haven't passed the CPA, but still serve as corporate accountants.
This is an excellent article which reminds me of dean kamen who said you have teenagers thinking they're going to make millions as nba stars when that's not realistic for even 1percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is
Good article. I enjoyed reading it and was reminded of what our Professor told us in our second year of college (electrical engineering faculty):
An artist creates
A scientist discovers
A mechanic repairs
An engineer designs
When somebody says that he/she engineered a system, what he means is that the person designed a system keeping in mind function, efficiency, reliablility and cost. Design is at the heart of engineering.
This explanation of engineering is not original with me, but it is a reasonable description, I think. Scientists work to understand the way things are and how they work, while engineers work to create solutions to problems and needs, and create new things that never existed before.
OF course, on some occasions things have been created by engineers, usually motivated by others, that we would all be much better without. "Progress" is NOT always an improvement.
There's an interesting dichotomy here. Yes, in the real world it's true that someone does not need to be an "engineer" -- have graduated from an accredited engineering school and/or passed the PE -- to do engineering. OTOH, I believe that it would be to the financial and respect benefit of engineers if we limited the use of that term solely to such folks.
I can dress a wound but I don't call myself a doctor. Should I be able to? How about calling myself an EMT because I can perform CPR? On the face of it, both are ludicrous, and the person in the street would laugh at the suggestion, because to be a doctor, nurse, or EMT, you need training.
Hey, guess what? To be an engineer, you need training, too. If you haven't got it, maybe you're someone who can design a circuit, or create Facebook, or make billions more than I ever will.
But you know what you're not? You're NOT an engineer.
Ann, I'd argue on the side of an engineer being someone who thinks like an engineer, solves solves problems like an engineer, and has the passion for all the disciplines surrounding engineering. It's not necessarily someone who has a degree in engineering. I know plenty of people with law degrees and teaching degrees who have never practiced law or taught in the classroom. They just have very expensive pieces of parchment to hang on their walls, but their heart and soul just was never into it.
Interesting reasoning, but I disagree that any year should be "the year of the __" [profession]. If your ideas are correct (which I think they are), then 2012 could be the Year of Engineering. Design and engineering are way too important to be left to the engineers or the designers alone.
The input of PEs is important here. Yes, I've known some good engineers who were not degreed and one or two great ones. But to hang out a shingle, you need a PE, and to be a PE, you need a degree. I've even known one degreed engineer who was/is downright brilliant, and who even received a Presidential Medal of Honor for his work, and who had inventions on the Space Shuttle, and nevertheless ended up in court for doing engineering work when he didn't have a PE (he did have an engineering degree and never even claimed he was a PE). Degrees come in handy. So do PEs.
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