Letters to the editor

Re: No more teachers, no more books (June 25)

I would like to add to your point of secondary sources. True, primary is better. For me whenever I take in information, I size up the

source and the purpose of their message. I look to the hidden agenda first then take what I can. I think you did right by bringing attention to the Microsoft anti-competition piece. However, the same could be said about IBM’s Lotus Smart Suite. When IBM stopped development/shipment of their product they gave Microsoft an unfair advantage by reducing competition.

All that aside, I do think that there is something bigger afoot. More needs to be done to highlight the learning system at large. I happen to be involved in the IT training business and as such I have the opportunity to speak with members of various educational groups and boards both personally and professionally. With respect to school boards, my personal take is that some have a vested interest in holding back the use of computers in the classroom as technology represents a threat to their function and role in the classroom.

Being in the IT education business I have learned, first hand, that you can’t stop progress. You may slow it down for a while but you can’t stop it indefinitely. I believe that in order for things to truly change for the better for education, things such as “”available access”” and “”quality applications”” need to become more available. Through technology, teachers need to engage parents to help support and assist the learning needs of their students/children. We all have a vested interest in affordable and accessible education but it seems only those that gain financially have any dedicated interest in perusing such solutions. The same can be said about employers and employees. I know the technology exists. I believe it’s just a matter of time for the people who have access to knowledge break the barriers, come together and share their knowledge and engage others and make a difference.

Christopher Zolumoff
Corporate account manager
triOS Training & Support Centres

Re: No more teachers, no more books (June 25)

Without a hidden agenda a local technology company helped Seneca College enable their data communications/networking students to practice what the books preach. The college’s communications program was so theory oriented, the professor had to take a six-week hands-on training course to master the technology as it would be applied in a work environment.

In my experience, most colleges do not teach data communications by replicating a realistic work environment. Stories like yours and Seneca’s experience can alert educators to be more receptive to updating their technical lab equipment even if it means that the educators themselves have to become students to ensure their graduating classes have practical experience with the technology they plan to use in their careers.

Rachel Bandura

Re: Coffee talk (June 20)

As I read your article I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was so descriptive of the typical IT project so it was good satire and worth a laugh. But I have been operating under the illusion for 25 years that all the problems with IT projects were due to the immaturity of the discipline and its rapid growth. This filled the field with inexperienced people who didn’t know about project management and change management and someday IT would catch up to the “”real world”” where these types of projects and changes were routine and well managed. Oh well, only two years until retirement and then I can write my book on how it should be done.

Charlie Whitfield

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

Stationary “”engineers”” went through this same battle and lost. There already is a distinction made by the CCPE in that the reference used is “”Professional Engineer,”” not solely “”engineer.””

As long as the industry certification doesn’t change to PEng (unless the individual is such) I’d say there is a stronger case today for global harmonization of the terminology.

D. Sweetnam

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

The term engineer had been coined to identify more than the expression software engineers long before we got into software programming. An engineer is somebody that abides to a code of ethics and bears responsibility for his actions, recommendations and approvals. I think software engineers, if they aspire to the same recognition as other engineers, should look at developing the branch within the established professional orders. Today, people are stealing the term to grant themselves titles that look good since the term evokes the profession.

The term software engineer and software architect are also misleading because they’re uncontrolled. In one organization, you’ll find a software engineer with as master degree in software engineering while in another one the software engineer barely knows SourceSafe and read the introduction of an UML primer. The software industry and its leading professionals should get organized to straithen requirements and obligations of its professional adopting titles for which they intend to develop the same prestige as other professional groups did.

Now what should they call themselves? Could they be certified software designers, chartered software analyst, fellow software analyst, etc.? There’s problably tons of good terms that could be found to avoid using those that have already been coined. Whatever they’re called, the important will be to develop recognition as truely certified professionals and not just another bunch of uneven experts with good looking purchased and borrowed titles.

Luc Vachon

Re: Who are you calling a software engineer? (June 12)

The core issue here is the regulation of the engineering profession as granted the CCPE by legislation in each of the provinces. The words engineer, lawyer, doctor, architect, realtor are just a few of regulated professional designations that require licenses and professional insurance to ensure the public that when they engage one of these professionals, they are indeed dealing with a trained, licensed and regulated professional in their field. The computer industry, under the guise of marketing “”credentials,”” has for many years diluted the power of the words engineer, architect and doctor. One finds the same debate raging in the world of lawyers with the phenomenon of para-legals.

There is no short cut to becoming an engineer and I speak from my experience as not only a long time executive in the computer industry but also as a graduate electrical engineer from McMaster University. A vendor like Microsoft may teach one to design solutions with their products, but it is not engineering. Engineering is a much broader discipline, and indeed Microsoft (or any other vendor) does not regulate the ethics nor the skills of its designatees nor its trainers — for them its all about marketing some level of expertise in their products. I am sure the other professions (especially architects through the OAA) are standing by to see how this issue plays out before commencing their own actions. If the CCPE fails, then in the future you’ll take your car in for service and ask for the Automotive Engineer instead of the mechanic — now doesn’t that make you feel much safer?

Dave Welling

Re: What does it all mean? (June 27)

Sticks and stones can break your bones but inferences can really hurt your reputation. I am writing to clear up possible confusion surrounding yesterday’s editorial. Since my name was used (without my consent, I might add), I feel it is only fitting I have the opportunity to set the record straight regarding my mathletic abilities. Though my tie is adorned with numbers, I am not a mathlete. I have never been to a mathematics competition, and was at best a mildly above average math student in high school. The “”mathlete”” reference was not self-referential. I am cool. I swear.

Paul Fruitman
Staff writer

Editor’s Note: You’re fired.

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of ITBusiness.ca. Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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