The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Is the title software engineer used too freely?

development.pngI was recently at a services industry conference. I met a number of great individuals focused on innovation in this space -- here is a blog post from one of them – Dirk Van den Poel of Universiteit Gent in Belgium. He is definitely into visually capturing everything that is going on at the conferences he attends.


At one point near the end of the conference one of the speakers (a software engineering technical leader from a large global services organization who was part of a panel I was on) was talking about how software is being mashed up from services in the enterprise and “designed and engineered” by the end users.


After the panel was over – unfortunately there wasn’t time to ask him during the panel – I approached him to ask “Why he used the term ‘engineered’?” Was he really thinking that end users were going to become engineers or was he just using the term incorrectly?


I mentioned a few weeks back that Texas is releasing Software Engineer licensing test next year and that in a number of geographies it is actually illegal to use the term engineer so loosely – it is incorrect in all geographies.


His response was that the term software engineer is commonly used to mean all software development…  and was a bit indignant that I’d even question his use of the term.


I had no problem with the perspective that software mashups are common and that enterprises need to be more proactive enabling their constituents to have greater flexibility… but to call the software assemblies that may be used “engineered” was just wrong. I've said for years that the term "application" may be obsolete, since it is turning into an aggrigation of services.


I asked the individual about the situation:

“If you was given a bunch of car parts from various models and was able to assemble them into a working vehicle, would  it be engineered?” He said “No”. In fact, it wouldn’t be legal to drive on the roads in many states, without significant inspection.


Why do IT professionals continue to use “Software Engineer” so loosely? Especially those who use software engineer in their title?

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