Did n't do any analyses. Could have done a lot better.
Traditionally Priests were the Professionals as no lay person could take over their domain/ Since at least the Middle Ages that expanded into the legal and medical professions as those priests and monks expanded into those activities. In our modern times individiuals who are protected by some sort of certificatipn and can practice their skill independent of a third party ( e,g. a financier ) or holds power over others is deemed a true Professional. By this definition even MBAs are professionals.
To create anything useful ( incl. Software ) Scientists and Engineers need Capital and Infrastructure / large Organization and thus become dependent on Management & VCs. Thus they are reduced to hired hands even if some of their inventions might get them a few millions at the end. Most Engr.s who get lucky like that switch to VCs
This scenario is true only in English speaking countries as they do not value honesty, integrity key to scientific achievements but are based on manipulation and extortion that are key to "Free market" capitalism and so govern the Legal, Medical and Accounting professions as well. Germany and Russia on the other hand have always honored their Scientists and Engineers far more.
So ultimately the definition of a Professional is a cultural thing.
@bert22306 Bert, I have to disagree with you. I've run into plenty of lousy engineers who have degrees and plenty of great engineers who have no degrees. I think it's more to do with having a demonstrated level of proficiency [from Latin prōficere to make progress] in a field that is gained by training and experience. Whether that knowledge comes through formal programs (university) of self taught or the lucky few that are "natural engineers," seems beside the point.
I once worked for a manager who had impressive credentials and was a highly paid engineer. Unfortunately, he had no ability to create. He could define a problem with the best of them. He could refine an already existing design. And he could preen and show off his MS diploma hung next to his desk.
But he couldn't read a schematic. He couldn't envision a part he had never seen from a blueprint. He definitely couldn't look at something and immediately know whether it even had a chance of working.
He was paid, so in that sense he was a professional. In my opinion though, a "professional" also implies a standard of excellence that he never met.
>Engineers are still just labor, and not a profession in the way lawyers or doctors are professionals.
To me a person is a laborer if she she she works in a job where another of the same skill level can jump in and take over immediately, with only a few points on the specific situation. For example, you might call a nurse a laborer because antoerh of the same skill level can jump in within minutes and take over. that happens every day when shifts change. Same goes for airline pilots, carpenters, etc.
But what about engineers? Can you colleague step in an work on your design with just a few minutes of transition or is your knowledge specialized enough so that it requires you and only you? In other words, do you have a skill that;'s unitque within your organization?
When I worked at Varian, there was one engineer that the company kept on because of his unique knowledge of older ion implanters in the field. Nobody else had his knowledge. While he had a job for as long as there wre machines to support, he also had no change for advancement becuase his unique applied to that job and that job only.
What about a lawyer who works for a corporation as opposed to a law firm?
>What defines a profession is not education or means of accreditation, it all comes down to legal responsbility. Put it in short, If you screwed up your job and you presonally can be sued for tort, then you are a profession.
In Canada there is the notion of reserved acts. Only qualified profesionals can legally perform certain actions, which are defined in the law. Pertaining to engineering, an example would to sign-off on electrical plans. To legally be entitled to do this act, this you need to be a member of a professional engineering association.
Engineering is definitely a profession because it requires:
(1) Specialized knowledge not readily known to the public and,
(2) A commitment in time to a standard of excellence.
What is not a profession is something that can be learned in a relatively short amount of time by a person of average intelligence and motivation. That excludes the original profession.
Engineers pretty much create the world economy yet get almost no credit for it. Steve Jobs was a tremendous visionary and a great marketeer, but where would he have been without engineers? All his ideas would have gone nowhere without the people that worked through the technical challenges to make it reality. Yet no one even knows their names.
Whether or not a person has advanced degrees should not really be the determining factor for any profession. It think it all boils down to the specialized knowledge required to get the job done and commitment and attention to detail it takes to get it right.
Even if most engineers are not licensed in my country (it is considered that university degree qualifies you), I think that whether engineer is considered a proffesion depends on preception of engineers in society.
Although less common as time goes it still happens that people adress someone with engineering degree as engineer and not as mr, especially if the engineer works in an industry related environment. Senior engineers also stress (to younger engineers like me) that being engineer also carries certain responsibilities and norms in manners and work ethics.
So yes, engineering is STILL a proffesion and it will stay so as long as engineering studies remain demanding enaugh to allow only the best and brightest students to graduate and older generations pass the good manners to younger generations.
Is accountant a profession? They are pretty much like engineers, they held a bechalor degree and write an exam to get certified. In UK, lawyers and doctors only require a bachelor degree, does it make UK's lawyers or doctors not a profession?
What defines a profession is not education or means of accreditation, it all comes down to legal responsbility. Put it in short, If you screwed up your job and you presonally can be sued for tort, then you are a profession.
Using this definition, most electronic engineers or programmers are not profession. Unless you happen to be working on a misssion critical product than you have to assume the legal responsibility of its safety operation.
You mention the programmers that didn't finish college but made millions. If they're still at the job, I'd call it a profession. They were able to do that thanks to some rather unique characteristics of software engineering.
One thing that sets engineering apart - especially software engineering - is the tool set. Some people can self-learn or self-better software engineering without leaving their desk chair. Hardware engineers have a similar opportunity, but with a bit more equipment needed. Wood workers and machinists have a similar opportunity as well. Some can get into the profession with hard work and a shop full of tools.
While a good education is generally a better start, software and electronics engineering can become a profession without an education or much infrastructure.
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