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Is there a term for all tasks around programming?

 
 
Miles Bader
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      09-23-2011
Rui Maciel <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> This reminds me how the so called "railroad engineers" are often
> used as a reference of a professional practice which abuses the term
> "engineer" as a form of grandstanding, while avoiding other terms
> which are more appropriate to the task they actually perform such as
> "train operator" or "train driver".


I don't think "railroad engineer" is abuse/grandstanding/etc, just a
very old term...

-Miles

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State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal
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Rui Maciel
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      09-23-2011
Miles Bader wrote:

> I don't think "railroad engineer" is abuse/grandstanding/etc, just a
> very old term...


It might not have been in a very long time in the past, where train
operators were forced to have an intimate understanding of how their machine
worked and how to maintain and repair it, and had to carry the
responsibility of maintaining a specific branch of a country's logistic
system.

Nowadays the responsibility of a train operator isn't much different than
the responsibilities of a truck driver or a bus driver, and it wouldn't be
reasonable to consider any of those activities as being engineering fields.

Nevertheless, by definition an engineer is someone who creates something,
and keeping trains on time isn't much of a creation.


Rui Maciel
 
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Victor Bazarov
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      09-23-2011
On 9/23/2011 9:06 AM, Rui Maciel wrote:
> Miles Bader wrote:
>
>> I don't think "railroad engineer" is abuse/grandstanding/etc, just a
>> very old term...

>
> It might not have been in a very long time in the past, where train
> operators were forced to have an intimate understanding of how their machine
> worked and how to maintain and repair it, and had to carry the
> responsibility of maintaining a specific branch of a country's logistic
> system.
>
> Nowadays the responsibility of a train operator isn't much different than
> the responsibilities of a truck driver or a bus driver, and it wouldn't be
> reasonable to consider any of those activities as being engineering fields.
>
> Nevertheless, by definition an engineer is someone who creates something,


By whose definition, yours? Engineer is a person who's in charge of
dealing with engines, machines. Most often it concerns solving
problems, not creating anything (unless you call solving problems
"creating a solution").

> and keeping trains on time isn't much of a creation.


It's rewarding to denigrate somebody else's work. Makes one's own
activities seem more important... Keep it up!

V
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I do not respond to top-posted replies, please don't ask
 
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none
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      09-23-2011
In article <4e7b3961$0$284$(E-Mail Removed)>,
DeMarcus <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On 09/22/2011 03:21 PM, none Yannick Tremblay wrote:
>> In article<(E-Mail Removed) id>,
>>
>> No documentation might only create problems in the long-term but no
>> unit tests...
>>
>> Manager:
>> "Just focus on the code. just implement that feature as fast as
>> possible, we need it yesterday! Implement this calculator now!"
>>
>>
>> Dev:
>> "OK, if you insist."
>>
>> int add(int a, int b)
>> {
>> return 7;
>> }
>> int mult(int a, int b)
>> {
>> return 12;
>> }
>>
>> "Done! I've implemented both the add and mult function. I haven't
>> had time to fully test it 'though."
>>
>> Manager:
>> "That's alright. Just send it to the test department."
>>
>> ...
>>

>
>I like your way of sliding in TDD without anyone noticing, however, when
>it comes back from the test department, the time to fix it will be
>logged as bugfix on the developer's account. No salary raise that year
>either...


Yes. But that's better than the alternative. Since the Dilbert
manager demanded the feature to be implemented today, the Dilbert
software writer is better delivering an untested (knowingly
non-working) feature than get sacked




 
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Keith H Duggar
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      09-23-2011
On Sep 23, 9:25*am, Victor Bazarov <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 9/23/2011 9:06 AM, Rui Maciel wrote:
> > Miles Bader wrote:

>
> >> I don't think "railroad engineer" is abuse/grandstanding/etc, just a
> >> very old term...

>
> > It might not have been in a very long time in the past, where train
> > operators were forced to have an intimate understanding of how their machine
> > worked and how to maintain and repair it, and had to carry the
> > responsibility of maintaining a specific branch of a country's logistic
> > system.

>
> > Nowadays the responsibility of a train operator isn't much different than
> > the responsibilities of a truck driver or a bus driver, and it wouldn'tbe
> > reasonable to consider any of those activities as being engineering fields.

>
> > Nevertheless, by definition an engineer is someone who creates something,

>
> By whose definition, yours?


Yes, pretty much Rui's own personsal definition that noone else
cares about. It's much more productive to stick to, say, IEEE's
definition of "software engineering" and ECPD for the definition
of engineering.

On a more philosophical note, below is a germane dictum of mine
pointing out the beautiful duality between, and the purposes of
science and engineering:

"Science applies control to gain knowledge.
Engineering applies knowledge to gain control."

KHD
 
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Rui Maciel
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      09-23-2011
Robert Wessel wrote:

> I'm pretty sure the use of "engineer" for someone who operates an
> engine is rather older than the main modern sense of a qualified
> professional practicing a branch of Engineering.


I believe we can agree that engineering, as a discipline, precedes the
production of engines which required an specialized operator. Also, I
believe that we can also agree that the need for a society to impose a
system that ensured the competence of those who carried the title of
"engineer" and also punish those who either failed to meet the requirements
or tried to defraud people's expectations is something which arrived much
after term "engineer" was coined. Therefore, if we agree on this, we can
also easily agre that comparing the coining of a misnomer with the inception
of the first legal qualifications, and expecting it to carry any meaning,
doesn't make sense.


> Nautical use dates
> back to the first steam powered ships. The approximately
> contemporaneous application to locomotive operators seems fairly
> obvious and reasonable in that context.


Well, the thing is, the field of engineering, along with the meaning of the
term, didn't suddenly popped into existence after the first steam engine was
placed in a ship.


Rui Maciel
 
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Rui Maciel
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      09-23-2011
Victor Bazarov wrote:

> By whose definition, yours?


No, history, etymology and reality. The term "engineer" has it's origins in
the latin word "ingeniator", which means to design/create/devise. It would
be fairly odd to refer to an occupation which never designed/created
anything as something that did precisely the opposite.


> Engineer is a person who's in charge of
> dealing with engines, machines.


So, then a person who rides a bicycle must be a bicycle engineer, a driver's
license must be an automotive engineering license, and a carny who operates
a ride must be a carnival ride engineer. Meanwhile, environmental,
chemical, transportation, biomedical and even civil engineers must be
defrauding the world with their title by not being in charge of dealing with
any specific engine or machine.


> Most often it concerns solving
> problems, not creating anything (unless you call solving problems
> "creating a solution").


Archimedes must have been a fraud, then, along with all that people who
waste their time expecting to be an engineer by studying mechanical
engineering and ending up designing stuff such as engines. Instead, they
should've just take a job operating a locomotive.


> It's rewarding to denigrate somebody else's work. Makes one's own
> activities seem more important... Keep it up!


Stating that an occupation isn't engineering is not denigrating somebody or
their work. It can only be seen as a way to denigrate someone if that
person happens to desperately want a fancy title to feel better about
themselves, and this is just wrong. There is a reason why society felt the
need to punish those who misappropriated professional titles.

The odd thing about your comment is that in some circles, particularly hard
science and math, engineering is looked down on. I guess one man's trash is
another man's treasure.


Rui Maciel
 
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Miles Bader
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      09-23-2011
Rui Maciel <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>> I don't think "railroad engineer" is abuse/grandstanding/etc, just a
>> very old term...

>
> It might not have been in a very long time in the past, where train
> operators were forced to have an intimate understanding of how their machine
> worked and how to maintain and repair it, and had to carry the
> responsibility of maintaining a specific branch of a country's logistic
> system.
>
> Nowadays the responsibility of a train operator isn't much different than
> the responsibilities of a truck driver or a bus driver, and it wouldn't be
> reasonable to consider any of those activities as being engineering fields.


Sure; nobody claims otherwise. Nonetheless "engineer" is common term
used for a train driver, for historical reasons.

> Nevertheless, by definition an engineer is someone who creates something,
> and keeping trains on time isn't much of a creation.


Language is messy. Old terms stay around (especially in the form of
particular idioms), even if they seem confusing / inconsistent / blah
blah.

I'm sure it would be convenient if one could simply refactor and clean
up usage as terms and meanings shift over time, to keep things neat
and consistent. But that's just not the way language works...

-Miles

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Ian Collins
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      09-23-2011
On 09/23/11 11:11 PM, Rui Maciel wrote:
> Ian Collins wrote:
>
>> So those of us with Electronic Engineering degrees (including members of
>> professional bodies) aren't engineers either?

>
> It really depends on what you are doing. Not everything a
> civil/structural/mechanical/aeronautical/etc engineer does is engineering.
>
> Nevertheless, the level of restrictions and assurances that a society
> requires in order to grant someone the ability to exercise the practice of
> "engineering" (i.e., the license), along with the civil and criminal
> responsibility it imposes on those who practice it, is a good litmus test to
> see if a field is in fact engineering.


You have a very weird view of the world.

--
Ian Collins
 
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Edek
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      09-23-2011
On 09/23/2011 01:11 PM, Rui Maciel wrote:
> Ian Collins wrote:
>
>> So those of us with Electronic Engineering degrees (including members of
>> professional bodies) aren't engineers either?

>
> It really depends on what you are doing. Not everything a
> civil/structural/mechanical/aeronautical/etc engineer does is engineering.
>
> Nevertheless, the level of restrictions and assurances that a society
> requires in order to grant someone the ability to exercise the practice of
> "engineering" (i.e., the license), along with the civil and criminal
> responsibility it imposes on those who practice it, is a good litmus test to
> see if a field is in fact engineering.


Does (or should) the liability extend to "Supporting Engineers"?
"Junior"? "Apprentice"? Are such titles common in the
fields you are referring to?

BTW, in "some" situations programming errors cost money. One does
not need to define liability by means of creating
law, it can be written down in a contract. You seem to
be defining "engineering" by including "criminal liability",
along with civil liability, implying that people's life or
health are in danger [because of engineers actions or
lack thereof]. Apparently not all fields of engineering
may cause a direct threat to people health and safety, for
example reading human writing is both usually not reliable
enough to count upon in emergency situations and an
engineering accomplishment based on some maths and programming
methods, hence it suits the general definition and not yours.

I think it should be a criminal offence to make such oversimplified
claims as yours on a mailing list dedicated to engineering; or
maybe you are right that software makers should be responsible
for bugs, I've heard of some EU efforts towards such laws, which
are meant to protect consumers; they are not meant to result
in criminal punishments though.

As for your other points:
> Instead, they
> should've just take a job operating a locomotive.

^^^^^
>
>> > It's rewarding to denigrate somebody else's work. Makes one's own
>> > activities seem more important... Keep it up!

> Stating that an occupation isn't engineering is not denigrating somebody or
> their work.


You seem to be contradicting yourself in the same message.

>> Engineer is a person who's in charge of
>> > dealing with engines, machines.

> So, then a person who rides a bicycle must be a bicycle engineer, a driver's
> license must be an automotive engineering license, and a carny who operates
> a ride must be a carnival ride engineer.


I would call a person who tests engines an engineer. And a craftsman at
the same time. (if that is the right word, I'm not English). And that
was the topic as far as I am following it, not John Smith using the
great calculator software you have written (please do not think now
about engineers using calculators, ok?)

As my own observation I may add that giving funny titles to people
writing software might be part of social engineering, making the
monkey at the keyboard feel happy, which is a step towards
getting the best monkeys' productivity , and has nothing to do
with any social contract nor, ugh, licence. The world did
not change at all, people love nice titles.

Edek
 
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