Monday, August 3, 2015

Developers are not freakin' engineers

My current title is "Software Engineer in Test". I'm part of a QA team, looking for ways to improve their process. I'm actually writing tools for the dev team. It's a long story.

Anyway, I've had titles with "Engineer" in them many times in my long unillustrious career.

But I've never really been an engineer.

I didn't want to have to write this now. I want to go to bed so I can get up at 6 for my hour's commute. But I twote a hashtag and I think I insulted somebody, so I have to clarify. 140 chars won't do the trick.

The hashtag: #DevelopersAreNotFreakinEngineers.

Developers with any aspirations to Agility shouldn't want to be considered engineers.

Here's the beginning of an outline of what I mean:

  • Engineers can count on settled/established mathematics. Developers are barely grasping at the rudiments of the math behind what they do (best bet is Category Theory IMAO).
  • Engineers work in well-defined domains with settled/established natural science behind them. Some developers work in these domains, but I don't want to call even those developers "engineers". 
  • Developers deal in an infinitely more plastic medium than engineers.
  • Engineers are almost always members of BDUF/Waterfall organizations. The engineers that tried to stop the Challenger launch because they knew the O-rings could freeze were overruled by management: their expert opinions meant nothing in the face of deadlines/PR/etc.
  • Developers want to be called engineers because it's respectable. It's like wearing a dashing uniform.  It's professional. Maybe we'll get paid more....
There's more, but I'm tired.

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