You Guys Need To Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers; You're Making the Term Worthless

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Jun 18, 2018 57 Comments

Please stop calling yourselves Engineers. You're not. The worst devs I know are the same ones who insist on calling themselves engineers.

How many times have you heard "move fast and break things" at your job? I've heard it a million times. That's literally the opposite of what an actual engineer does.

When a real engineer builds a bridge, he doesn't just take out his hammer and start building the damn thing. He doesn't just start building and hope the thing stands up by itself someday.

He doesn't say "some guy online told me about a new framework (Plastik, current version: 0.3.1-Alpha) for making the beams out of plastic and I want to try it out on this bridge to see how it works" and then just casually start using it halfway through construction.

He doesn't say "I don't have time to test this" or "following a consistent architecture isn't important." He sure as hell doesn't say "let's just release it and see if it breaks, we can always fix it in the next sprint."

But you spent hundreds or thousands of hours on leetcode learning about architecture! Well the cook at McDonald's has spent hundreds or thousands of hours flipping burgers, but that doesn't make him a Burger Retroversion Engineer. It makes him a burger flipper.

To be called an engineer in a traditional field in most states you need to get a degree, pass a licensing exam, and work under an experienced engineer for several (4+) years.

To be called a software engineer... You don't need anything. You just start calling yourself one. Like a janitor who just decides to start calling himself a Contaminant Removal Engineer. You're that guy. Good job. Are you happier with yourself now that you're a fake engineer?

Are you confident that in the unlikely scenario that someone's life depended on your code, it would work as expected? If not, you aren't an engineer. So stop calling yourself one. You sound like an idiot.

There are plenty of other words you can use. Software developer. Programmer. Hacker. Pick whichever one you like best, or make up your own.

Edit: I'm getting a lot of hate for this so far, so i want to say, yeah, I know it's aggressive but I just reviewed my coworker's code from Friday. It was:

1. A switch statement with only one case
2. Wrapped in a for loop with a break statement at the end so it only looped once
3. No edge case handling
4. The meat of the code was obviously copied directly from stack overflow

And THEN when I commented on it he insisted he was an engineer, and knew what he was doing. For fuck's sake. I never facepalmed so hard in my life.

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TOP 57 Comments
  • Netflix fs92
    Wow, get some coffee and chill
    Jun 18, 2018 6
    • Expedia 21$AvAGe
      lol that's just bad engineering...
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Cisco disbelief
      have you considered educating the guy?
      Jun 18, 2018
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

      PRE
      Groupon
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      OP
      "lol that's just bad engineering"

      No, it's just plain not engineering. That's my point.
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Amazon OuIE04
      A simple question. How do you think a bridge gets built? A single civil engineer thinks really-really hard and poops out an ideal blueprint that, if implemented correctly, will serve the generations to come?

      Try taking “Mechanics of Materials” course and you will learn that there’s much more Stack Overflow copy/paste in the civil engineer life than you imagine.
      Jun 18, 2018
    • GE / Eng
      weakPtr

      GE Eng

      PRE
      General Electric
      weakPtrmore
      What's wrong with a switch statement with only one case? It still gets the job done, doesn't it?
      Jul 29, 2018
  • Apple MacFan
    If you are in SF you can also try an avocado toast. Works great for me. Just like my software.
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Snapchat Skjddkkxxj
    Read about hacker ethics and you will understand this mentality. “Move fast and break things” is a fundamental trait of how to iterate quickly in a modern internet company and the field of engineering is evolving to be more software centric which by nature complements “moving fast and failing fast” mentalities. You’re a dumb fuck who seems to be struggling to adapt to your surroundings
    Jun 18, 2018 3
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

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      Groupon
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      OP
      I hope when the algorithm you're working on for the brakes in that car fails fast it's not the car I'm driving.
      Jun 18, 2018
    • FTI Consulting / Other RXpro
      @OP Automotive software development is completely different than consumer application development. It’s like comparing Mars and Jupiter. Two completely different planets development wise with hugely different QC requirements. Nobody is releasing untested software controlling your brakes. That’s a good way to go out of business and/or go to jail.
      Jun 18, 2018
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

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      Groupon
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      OP
      Yes but the guy who wrote the comment said it himself: engineering is evolving to be more software-centric. If you actually do that type of programming I have no problem with calling yourself an engineer.

      It's the shitty devs who write a buggy to-do list app, start calling themselves engineers, and then throw it around like that means their code is perfect. That's who this post was directed at.
      Jun 18, 2018
  • FTI Consulting / Other RXpro
    Someone has a case of the Mondays.
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Poor Daddy
    We are not engineers. We are developers developers developers!!!
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Salesforce trumpdoze
    having a bad start to a week ese huh..
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Expedia 21$AvAGe
    I've heard this silly argument a million times. We are engineers. However our constraints and assumptions are different. Imagine how bridge construction would be if small changes in user experience increased your revenue by X %? Or if the bridge client demanded X features to be added to the bridge in 2 weeks? Or if the bridge suddenly experienced 1000x traffic during one weekend because it went viral? In an environment where the cost/time of changing the bridge structure is low, it doesn't make sense to waste engineering time/resources to "overengineer" the bridge.
    Jun 18, 2018 2
    • Cisco disbelief
      imagine a bridge in a constituency which seeks income. toll booths appear, then fadtrack booths, then bypass lanes...sure sounds like posr delivery features for revenue generation
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Expedia 21$AvAGe
      That's actually exactly what happened to our interstates in metro Atlanta. And you know what? The UX was much better. If you are late for the airport, you can pay $6 to be in the fast lane. Dynamic pricing based on supply and demand yo.
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Apple MacFan
    People tend to be angry before breakfast. A donut usually makes it go away
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • HPE / Eng brotein
    Fuck you I do what I want
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Google / Product
    Twex12

    Google Product

    PRE
    Oracle, REI
    Twex12more
    It sounds like this guy got turned down for an engineering position. Sorry bro! #lmao
    Jun 18, 2018 5
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

      PRE
      Groupon
      🚣🐃🎩!!more
      OP
      Are we hashtagging "lmao" now? Did I miss that memo?
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Google / Product
      Twex12

      Google Product

      PRE
      Oracle, REI
      Twex12more
      Jun 18, 2018
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

      PRE
      Groupon
      🚣🐃🎩!!more
      OP
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Salesforce trumpdoze
      no one can help you when you are still in the #memo age
      Jun 18, 2018
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

      PRE
      Groupon
      🚣🐃🎩!!more
      OP
      You're right. I must have missed the @here announcement on slack because I disabled notifications
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Intel
    IntelAlum

    Intel

    PRE
    Intel
    IntelAlummore
    Technically anyone with only a CS degree is not an engineer though right? Lol only those of us who come from eecs, ce, or ee with a masters in cs, or me/cs whatnot...etc, can be called “engineers”. CS by itself is not an engineering degree
    Jun 18, 2018 2
    • Amazon / Eng uWave Fish
      Depends, there are CSE and CS.

      The CS department ask for lesser math, physics, chemistry, etc. Calculus is also weaker.

      The CSE is more like CE with real calculus and physics, chemistry, etc.
      Jun 18, 2018
    • Intel
      IntelAlum

      Intel

      PRE
      Intel
      IntelAlummore
      Yeah, thats true. cse is in my etc category, haha
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Honda / Design soichiro
    OK. I don’t usually ask for TC YoE but you are asking for it. Large corps pay good money to most of the people here even if they are some sort of containment removal specialists. I guess thats all that counts. I mean sculptors do impressive stuff too
    Jun 18, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

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      Groupon
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      OP
      ~12 yoe, tc varies as I'm freelance but between $100-200/hr depending on the client.
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Uber UberX
    Ok
    Jun 18, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      Weiner

      New Eng

      PRE
      Google, Amazon, Apple
      BIO
      Beluga whales
      Weinermore
      Yea
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Tinder / Eng
    meowimacat

    Tinder Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    BIO
    Im a cat! Meow 🐈
    meowimacatmore
    OP is triggered that we use the term engineer to describe ourselves.

    "To be called a software engineer... You don't need anything. You just start calling yourself one."

    Wtf? How stupid are you? To be a software engineer you have to actually bhave a job as a software engineer, not just do nothing. Also, leetcode isn't to learn architecture, it's to practice algorithm problems.

    Also your comparison is not a good one. Someone building a bridge follows a different approach cause people's lives depend on it. Obviously for a lot of software now, people's lives don't depend on it, so we can take a different approach. We still solve complex problems at scale though, so I think it still qualifies as engineering

    Basically OP your arguments are trash and you should probably take a debate class.
    Jun 18, 2018 1
    • Jet qbFD30
      Subway calls them sandwich artists not engineers.
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Apple Leo Messi:
    Looks like OP failed to get into fang
    Jun 18, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      🚣🐃🎩!!

      New Eng

      PRE
      Groupon
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      OP
      Never really wanted to. I have friends at Google. They like it but sounds awful to me.
      Jun 18, 2018
  • Facebook
    octopuss

    Facebook

    BIO
    Live a simple life
    octopussmore
    I am an engineer. I have formal engineering training in several engineering domains and a deep specialization in computer science and information engineering with degrees that prove it. And as much as I am proud of it, primarily my role as an engineer is to solve problems with the right solution and be adaptable to reality. So even if I would love to invest in design and durable solutions, I have to adapt to business realities and use my problem solving ability to deliver a solution that solves the problem at hand. If speed of delivery is a key constraint I consider that as part of my solution.
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Apple carbon
    Hey look, buddy, I'm an Engineer. That means I solve problems. Not problems like 'what is beauty?', because that would fall within the purview of your conundrums of philosophy. I solve practical problems. For instance, how am I gonna stop some big mean mother hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous new behind? The answer: use a gun. And if that don't work? Use more gun. Like this heavy-caliber tripod-mounted little old number designed by me... built by me, and you best hope... not pointed at you.
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Flagged by the community.

  • Microsoft needcoffee
    Title is just what the companies use. I personally don't care at all.
    Jun 18, 2018 0
  • Apple / Eng HandJobs
    It’s all about the TC... I don’t care what you call me
    Jun 18, 2018 1
    • Oscar / Eng
      tc/gtfo

      Oscar Eng

      BIO
      Hi. I am real and I am pretty friendly. Just here for some happiness.
      tc/gtfomore
      Can I call you blow job?
      Jun 18, 2018

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