[lug] software engineering

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Mon Nov 13 18:07:07 MST 2006

bgiles at coyotesong.com wrote:
> I hate that analogy every time I see it.
> Doctors, Lawyers, Practicing Engineers, Architects, etc. are all licensed
> and have a tremendous amount of autonomy in performing their job.  Put
> another way, they can all say "no" and it must be respected.

Yeah, I'm trying to figure out where Software Engineering went wrong, 
and Software Engineers don't garner that type of respect from anyone, 
including their bosses...?

> In contrast, at most we can quit but how practical is that?  If I think
> people will die, I quit.  But if I know the software will crash but will
> only annoy the user?....

I'm trying to figure out how we all dig this industry out of that rut. 
You're stuck in it, as a support person I'm stuck in it (nothing new 
ever works right -- just plan to be up 36 hours straight fixing that new 
supposedly "Engineered" product)... etc.

> So using that analogy, we aren't the doctors or lawyers.  We aren't the
> registered nurses.  We're the pharamist aides and paralegals and road
> crew.  People with valuable skills, but not 'professionals' in any legal
> sense.

Right - how do we change that?  What would our industry have to do as a 
whole to give our Engineers that level of respect?  And more 
importantly, do our Software Engineers *WANT* it.

My suspicion is that they don't.  And I'm curious if there's a specific 
motivation hiding there somewhere that I'm missing that would explain why.


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