Re: Quebec engineers win court battle against Microsoft (April 7)

And where were they when all those people who keep building boilers and systems operating started calling themselves

“”Stationary Engineers””? And where were they when all those men, and now women, who work long hours in hot ships engine rooms called themselves “”Ships Engineers””? Not to mention that they were remiss in not taking the men and women who sit in those hot, steam-filled cubicles in the front of trains, shoveling coal or piling wood into fireboxes when they called themselves “”Engineers,”” and allowed the members of OIQ to ride in comfort in the train’s club car to meetings in Trois Rivières and Quebec.

This has been Microsoft Bashing brought to its absolute limit of utmost bureaucratic stupidity.

John Knops

Re: Quebec engineers win court battle against Microsoft (April 7)

I have strong, opposing views on the Canadian professional engineering aggression towards the use of the word “”software”” engineering, and was naturally upset at the decision reported in your online publication. And while you will rarely find me defending Microsoft on any issue, I am ready to support its appeal to the judge’s decision in Quebec.

The gist of Alberta legislation regarding professional engineers is consistent with Paul Bassett’s remarks: the word “”engineering”” cannot be used in any context where it would mislead the public into believing one was a “”professional”” engineer. No one I know on this planet, except for politically motivated professional engineering groups, would be confused about the term “”software engineer.””

The reason this is consistent with Paul Bassett’s remarks is that professional engineers are the last people on this planet that you would want to be responsible for software engineering. There is no confusion in all the world constituencies I have seen because it is computer scientists that provide the basis for software engineering as discipline.

This is wholly in line with Bassett’s remarks:

“”It’s kind of ironic that the engineers are arguing that they’re trying to protect the public interest, when in fact the expertise for this sort of work lies outside of engineering per se,”” he said. “”The accreditation that the engineering accrediting body uses is a one-size-fits-all sort of criteria. Whether you’re a forest engineer or a chemical engineer or a systems engineer, it makes no difference.””

What has become clear is that the professional engineering societies of Canada are leading the world in ill-informed, legal, bullying tactics, and doing only disservice and harm to the “”public”” they claim to be protecting. I have more than 30 years’ experience in observing the software skills of professional engineers, and I have to conclude that it is the professional engineering societies that put the public at risk regarding software engineering.

Randy Goebel
Professor and Chair
Computing Science
University of Alberta

Re: Quebec engineers win court battle against Microsoft (April 7)

If the work done is outside engineering, then why call yourself an engineer?

All engineers go through a CCPE/ABET accredited university program (or close to it) and require experience before they can legally call themselves an engineer. All engineering disciplines have a COMMON core. As an electrical engineer, I still had to take metallurgy, chemistry and structural mechanics.

My big beef is that you can fork out about $15,000 and 42 weeks of time and get an MCSE. I have met a number of MCSEs that frankly surprised me on how little they knew and they were calling themselves “”an engineer.”” Hence leveraging the prestige of the engineering profession.

I graduated as an electronics technologist in 1983 and while working for Nortel applied to the PEO. Finally in 2002, I officially could call myself a P.Eng. (or even an engineer). I wrote 16 brutal, technical exams (had to re-write a few), and spent on average about $800 per course (about $13,000 by the time I was done).

If you think 42 weeks after a Grade 12 education plus $15,000 deserves the title engineer, I have to strongly disagree with you.

The bottom line here is that Microsoft is encouraging people to break the law and are using the prestige of the engineering profession to help line their own pockets.

I don’t see the public being harmed here –– a misprogrammed router is not going to maim or disfigure anyone. I think a lot of professional engineers have missed the real point with their complaints.

Like I originally said, why use the term engineer if you are not doing engineering work? The MCSEs I have met install high-speed Internet routers and work as LAN administrators. Technician is a more appropriate term to use.

W. Tom Sej
C.E.T., P.Eng.

Re: Quebec engineers win court battle against Microsoft (April 7)

The word “”engineer”” should not be confused with “”professional engineer.””

The term “”engineer”” has been used for many years to describe jobs such as “”stationary engineer””, which in the past did not require any university education or much more than the applicant’s ability to pass an examination to be certified as a “”stationary engineer”” within the province he or she worked.

Most people see the term “”computer engineer”” as more of a technician description, and perhaps Microsoft should be using this term to describe their graduates rather than using the term “”computer engineer””.

Universities without an engineering department should not issue any degree that implies the person is an engineer unless that person is a graduate from an engineering department.

The next thing we know we may have “”mail-order doctors,”” and I do not think this would be of any benefit to society.

E. Scullion


Re: Gigabyte for your thoughts? (April 7)

Back in the olden days when CSH was new, I was told that “”email is exactly as private as a post card”” and I should encrypt it if I didn’t want it public. The same holds today. Google’s Gmail may very well be the impetus needed for truly convenient, on-the-fly, public key encryption to take over. Who has the best and most convenient method?

Mark Bernier

Re: Gigabyte for your thoughts? (April 7)

In spite of being partial to anything called Gmail (for obvious reasons), I have to agree that scanning email to target ads is “”over the line”” –– free or not.

But I can propose a solution. Everybody should sign up and immediately start sending messages frantically to and fro consisting of the “”Latinized”” gibberish text that they use to demonstrate fonts. You know:

“”Res ipsit loquitur sed omnem qui obsolavit tecam sui. Etcetera ad nauseam. Aliquot eram stupidum.””

Fill up everybody’s gigabyte with garbage like that, and see what happens. Think we could organize a “”flash mob”” to get that done?

<Gerry Wenham


Re: Coding and the coed (March 30)

I just had to comment on this article. I have been in the IT business for 10 years, starting as a computer technician, programmer and now Manager of the IT and EDI department for the past four years. What may surprise you is that IT was not my first career choice even though I had excellent grades in math and computer programming in Basic when I was in high school.

The reason was that my perception of IT was of a group of people who lived, eat and breathed computers. What changed my mind is a summer job I had doing data entry in which my boss was the manager of the IT department and she had a life outside of the computer world..

I love what I do and could not imagine having any other career. I still get a rush when I get a program to work; it’s what I call a natural high. I believe the problem is not just the lack of role models for young women but the perception of IT in general. IT is a fun and very interesting career where you get to help everyone in the company perform their task more efficiently.

Tanya Dubois
MIS

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