are mac techies real scientists or engineers

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by jefhatfield, May 4, 2002.

  1. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    i teach computer SCIENCE, at one local school in the bay area, programming students are in the software ENGINEERING department, and many junior level network administrators are called network ENGINEERS

    so why do schools like MIT not consider computer science a true engineering discipline or a true science? my best friend got his electronic engineering degree there and considered himself an engineer briefly, but once he followed that up with two computer science degrees and entered the teaching field teaching computers, he told me he doesn't consider himself an engineer or scientist

    and why does the almighty IEEE (of electrical and electronic engineers) not allow the computer science field entry into it?

    many of us techies could care less what we are called so long as we get paid, so if we didn't have to dissect brains, chase butterflies in wet swamps, and have four years of high math, physics, and chemistry...then so what?

    your thoughts?
  2. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    come on, i haven't heard from the techies yet!!!

    help defend us computer people from those self righteous "brick and mortar" engineers
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Don't the two discplines amalgamate though..... so it becomes difficult to seperate one from the other??......

    As a creative though.... I consider myself both an artist and a scientist..... I know it's not what you wanted to hear... as I'm not a techie, but that's a view point..... :D

    God it's saturday... I've just got canned 19-0 at American Pool by my Bro...... I think he's a hustler..... :p
  4. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    if you are a creative on a computer, then you are a techie if you have to troubleshoot computer issues

    most computer artists i know are techies due to the fact that half the time they are doing real/commercial art and the other half of the time they are troubleshooting their machine...he he

    and the pc creatives?....25 percent art, 75 percent fixing windows...he he
  5. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    I have to troubleshoot sometimes........ I'm not really a techie as such.... but I'm pretty good with a mac.... :)

    I don't spend half my time fixing my machine, I'm pretty lucky that it keeps going....... (like the Duracell bunny ;) ) but I've spent more than my fair share of fixing friends macs and also when I was lecturing, I frequently had 16 macs that had all of their own individual personalities (read as faults and quirks) but it was quite fun....... in a techie kind of way!!

    So jef, what's going down in California on a gorgeous Saturday?? it's 7:32pm here in old blighty..... I spent the day getting whipped at pool (have you ever been canned 19-0??) watching the F.A Cup Final..... drinking Strongbow and now back at home chilling to ambient music..... and hitting the boards... so to speak!!! :)

    So what you doing in California??? I'd be at Stinson Beach chilling out if I was there now!!! :D
  6. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    recently i've been spending a lot of my computer time fixing, rather than creating... unfortunately. it always seems that when i am crunching on a project due very soon, something goes wrong.

    the hard drive dies, the monitor screws up... something

    but normally it's all about creating. though fixing, without the stress of urgent timed pressure, would be kinda fun to learn from occasionally. just not when something's due the next day.
  7. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    what I do

    I could be called a "digital-techie" of a significant amount of my time gets devoted to fixing other people's "design" work while at work... :rolleyes:

    I only spend a little bit of time actually fixing hardware....

    whenever there's something wrong with any of the systems...I am the one who ends up fixing the conflicts.....esp. when the OS starts acting flakey...

    and I'm the one who my Mac-friends call upon when something's up with their computers....

    so what does that make me?
  8. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    california, at least monterey county, is not unlike london in the month of may...mild, some sun, but never "hot"

    i went to school in london as a transfer student in 1985 at london university and lived near glouster road in south kensington

    the sunny california of baywatch fame is southern california and i am in northern california

    some say the line is drawn below the mason dixon line by over 100 mi. at a city called san luis obispo, ca (home of macrumors member thlaylilthefierce)

    it gets downright hot in southern california and the girls, whoever they are, cannot help but get those beautiful california tans
  9. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: what I do

    that's because you use macs;)
  10. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    Re: Re: what I do

    good call! ;)
  11. Baseline macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Southern Ontario
    Computer Science is NOT Engineering (in Canada, at least)

    This has actually been a HUGE issue here in Canada.

    In Canada, Engineering is a licensed profession (like doctors and lawyers), and you can only be an "Engineer" if you have graduated from a government accredited instituition.

    At my school (McMaster University) we have become the first in the country to offer an accredited Software Engineering program (which I have just finished my third year of). There has been an insanely huge fight over the term "Software Engineer" though.

    You see, all the Computer Science people want to be able to call themselves "Software Engineers" because it sounds better. However, if you haven't graduated from an Engineering program, it's not allowed.

    The reason is because of our commitment to the public (as defined by our legal status). All accredited Engineering programs in Canada have a certain minimum requirements on courses that must be taken. We must all take physics (electrical AND statics) courses, chemistry courses, ethics courses, design courses, materials courses, mechanical courses, thermodynamics, etc. In general, we have to have at least a basic understanding of all fields of Engineering.

    The reason this is important to Software people is because of the increased use of software in physical environments (controlling nuclear reactors, planes, etc.). How can we say that the software we design for such a physical device is safe if we don't understand the physical properties behind it?

    Computer Science people (in Canada at least) are not required to take any of those courses. Also, they have no professional legal status, so they don't have to worry about the repercussions if their designs fail. Engineers have a code of conduct they are legally obliged to follow.

    My program is headed by Dr. David Parnas, a hugely important name in computing, a name that is familiar to most people who have been involved in the computer world for at least 20 years. He is the brain behind some of the most important concepts in computing today (i.e. information hiding, grandfather of object-oriented design, etc.).

    If anyone is interested, more information on my faculty's view of Software Engineering can be found at the two following links:

    Sorry for going all ranty, but it's an issue very near to my heart. We have to work MUCH harder than the Comp Sci people to get our degree (by definition of Engineering in Canada alone) and it bugs me when they try to take credit for being an Engineer. It's illegal in Canada to call yourself an Engineer if you haven't graduated from an accredited program (and it's not easy to get accreditation).

    I've really just scratched the surface of the issue here. There are a whole lot of other things, most in the field of math, that I haven't covered. For instance, did any of you know that it's actually possible to MATHEMATICALLY prove the correctness of your software?

    Just like can be done in other Engineering fields, math can be used to prove that your software design is correct. Comp Sci people are not taught how to do that. The only people up to this point that have been learning to do it have PhD's. In Software Engineering, we begin to learn it in the second year of our undergraduate degree.

    I hope I haven't offended any Comp Sci people out there. In general they're much better coders than we are. However, when it comes to safety critical software, I'd rather have a licensed Engineer who has sworn an oath of ethical behaviour and has the necessary mathematical background needed, designing the software.

    Many of my professors worked together on the software-based safety shutdown sequence of the Darlington Nuclear station for Ontario Power Generation. And frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way.
  12. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    I think it's unfortunate that people get so hung up on titles and labels...

    My school calls me an Instructional Support Technician. I just call myself a tech. I'm not concerned about the title since I know what I do, and I'm not planning on staying in this job forever. ;)

    Multiple titles for the same job just cause confusion for the sake of stroking people's egos.
  13. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    I think people resort to labeling themselves with titles & such mainly because it makes them feel a sense of "I'm important...look..."
  14. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: Computer Science is NOT Engineering (in Canada, at least)

    wow, great rant...he he

    i am a computer teacher and a techie (network engineer) - there is no such term as network technician in the USA (or silicon valley) since CompTIA universally uses the term for its designations for their A+ technicians and CompTIA is a conglomeration of thousands of IT companies so no way to fight that, so in politically correct terms, i am a facilitator (teacher) in the world's largest pc organization and i am a consultant (techie)...he he

    being a teacher, i do hold some traditions true to my heart and i had a big rant against mcrain who likes to call lawyers with a JD degree the same as a person with a PhD...this is simply not was a huge move by the legal profession in the 1970s to change the basic legal degree, the bachelor's degree in law, to a full fledged status of a PhD simply thru legal manuevering and no change in the course work

    sure, a law degree often follows a bachelor's degree but it does not have to...any ABA law school has its exceptions and there is this test called the LSAT which can waiver not having completed a BA/BS degree

    also, following the basic law degree is the master's in law and a doctorate in law after that

    the academic world was forced to accept a bachelor's degree turning into a doctorate degree thru legislation...i found it terribly unfair to those who were in other fields who had to, in every case, achieve a bachelor's degree first to be admitted into graduate school

    now if the accredited law school where i live insisted on having a BA/BS degree first, i would have absolutely no problem with their degree holders being called "doctor" or "juris doctor"

    i am much older than mcrain, the young lawyer who recently finished law school, so i doubt he remembers any lawyers who were practicing with their bachelor's in law...some of those lawyers went on to get their master's and doctorates only to find that the new crop of freshly minted lwayers in their 20s (23-26) are now considered doctorates of law...what about the three hundred or more years of lawyers who had to earn their doctorate of law the hard way?

    i live in a retirement community so the balance of lawyers here have the bachelor's of law called the llb and they also had to pass the california bar not to mention many of these lawyers have their own small firms and offices which they have to pay for out of their own other words they worked their tails off...but their kids who follow them in the profession, which is common in a small town, get a juris "doctorate" the day they pass just three years of law school and somehow have a degree that sounds twice as powerful as the one their parents have...go figure

    i have my BA degree and maybe i can legislate that into a PhD...he he

    mcrain, the very intelligent macrumors poster and lawyer, has a proper 4 year engineering degree and i am sure he had to work harder at that than his 3 year law i don't understand why he thinks that the law degree was built on top of his engineering BS degree or that the 3 year law degree is a doctorate and his 4 year engineering degree, with no connection, is just one that should be considered a bachelor's degree...and i will state this again, one does not have to have a bachelor's degree to be in law school and all one has to do is ask to find out...however, the majority of law students do have a BA degree

    i am not saying that law students don't study...people with IT certifications also have to work very hard and also have the added headache of having their designation stripped from them every 18 months due to "changes in the industry"

    the certification thing is another interesting field...imagine having a CCIE certification which takes no less than 4 years to achieve, and that hard work is not even considered an AA/AS degree but the certification could now be used towards some AA/AS programs

    in silicon valley, the non-degreed CCIE has a starting salary of 100-120k so in that effect, someone who is a CCIE could care less if they have a degree...the only CCIE i know made 2 million dollars in the last year i know he filed for taxes

    there are hangups about designations and i think it is stupid, but being a teacher and techie i have only two

    1) the llb being turned into a JD degree thru legislation

    older lawyers i know detest new JD this since they worked hard to get where they are today with their mere llb degree

    2) having newly certified network engineers call themselves the much more important title of network administrator even though they are in a support role as a mere network my book, the chief network engineer...da one with da passwords and the only true network administrator

    btw - i have two real WASC accredited degrees and one real IT certification so i am not talking out of my butt...but i won't mention which company sponsors that certifications since i don't want to be deemed a traitor here...he he

    hatman rant over (mcrain, you are my favorite poster here despite the opposite views on education, but please chime in)

  15. Baseline macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Southern Ontario
    I suppose it's a fact that everyone always wants to make their job title sound better than it really is. I have respect for everyone who is willing to work for their money, no matter what job they're performing, but it does bug me when they try to play with the name just to make it sound "better" than it really is.

    That's why I'm thankful that Engineering is a licensed profession in Canada. It's not like people who call themselves Engineers, but aren't, are searched out and fined or arrested. They could be though if they tried to represent themselves as an Engineer when the employer actually does ask for an Engineer.

    BTW, I forgot to mention, in Canada all Engineers graduate with a B. Eng, not a BS in Engineering as seems to be the case in the States. It's just one more part of the accredited institution requirement.

    Your problem with new law graduates now holding a PhD is very similar to the problem here of Comp Sci people trying to say they are Engineers. They tried to do it with "legal manuevering and no change in the course work", fortunately Dr Parnas and others were able to prevent it.
  16. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    ...and in the states, where engineer is used loosely, cisco and microsoft like to call their network engineers the high title of "network administrators" and even though i know my stuff, i would never dare call myself a "network administrator"...i am not the head of any networks among the IT clients i have

    i plan to get two more certifications and a graduate degree in computer engineering but if i don't have three to five years in the field as a network engineer, i will not, in all fairness, call myself a network administrator

    the one exception i can think of is someone who is given the sole responsility of a network right off the bat right out of school or off the street...and in that case, if that person is where the buck stops on the network, then they are truly a network administrator and deserve the it is not always based on time and credentials, but almost always is

    a network administrator does not have to have degrees and/or certifications, but almost always do...though not cs degrees but math, physics, or engineering degrees for the reason that computer science is more related to software than hardware and maintaining and setting up gear, servers, etc...

    even though the hardware people make more in silicon valley, the programmers have the higher there are those who like the title as a "software developer" at 35k a year instead of network administrator without a degree requirement at 70k a year

    i am too old for titles...i have bills to pay, thank you:p
  17. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: Re: Computer Science is NOT Engineering (in Canada, at least)

    to be fair, i will explain why lawyers and law schools legislated their bachelor's degrees into doctorates in the 70s

    bear's guide for colleges put it simply like this (paraphrased)...where most law school entrants have 4 years of college under their belts, having another three years of law school should amount to more than just another bachelor's degree

    so i see where a doctorate is earned

    but what should they call the llm and jsd degrees that follow the juris doctorate (formerly the bachelor's of law)

    this issue raised all types of concern in the educational community some years ago, but now more than 20 years after the fact, the controversial doctorate of jurisprudence degree has settled into the official ranks of degrees
  18. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    maybe there should be a move to license engineers in america...but very gradually over the next ten years or so

    perhaps the title of engineer should hold two criteria

    1) those who study the traditional engineering fields which involve physics, chemistry, and high math like chemical engineers, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers

    2) after graduation, each state should have a license like the JDs passing the bar or accounting graduates passing the CPA

    and there should be a unique title for those who studied programming and other computer related fields

    maybe those degreed techies should get vendor certified like the vendors certify the the non-degreed techies and give titles like "java certified 4 year college graduate" or "microsoft certified advanced degree programmer" or something like that to help the poor hr people get thru the alphabet soup of degrees and certifications

    it might make sense to keep the engineers in the brick and mortar fields, and have all non-degreed and degreed techies alike be directed by the certification industry like lawyers being memebers of the bar

    just my guesses...any thoughts anyone?
  19. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
  20. evildead macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2001
    WestCost, USA
    Im a CS student

    Im a Computer Science Sudent right now and I work at a Defence contractor as a UNIX System Admin. I have never heard anyone say that CS is not a SCIENCE. But my University is more into the Arts rather than the Sciences... so I have whats called a "Hard major" arround my compus. jefhatfield, what subjects do you teach? I was a TA in another department for a few years and Did a little teaching. I enjoyed it and might want to do a little on the side after I finnish.
  21. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: Im a CS student


    i teach computer networking and some computer repair issues similar to topics in comptia A+ hardware...most teachers in computer science, in the usa, teach a programming language similar to software in a sense, i teach the "hard" side of computer science as opposed to the programming and application or "soft" side of computer science...but hopefully, a computer science student gets a little of both even though many schools and computer clubs do not care too much about the hardware, network, or circuitboard side to computers

    real world:

    in the high tech field, hardware and software are about equal in pay and number of jobs in silicon valley, but outside of the high tech field, software usage and programming are far more common

    back to academics:

    but compared to other majors, computer hardware and software are a "hard" majors/fields as opposed to business, law, english, speech communication, ethnic and women's studies, art, history, political science, or the "soft" majors or fields

    the hard majors/fields are the biological sciences, the physical sciences, traditional engineering, and computer science (just to name a few) mentioned above in canada and in some circles of elite universities in the usa like mit, computer science is not considered a true science ( but being in computers, i don't care if those traditional scientists consider me some sort of silicon witch doctor so long as i help people and get paid...he he)

    real life, again:

    and my wife works in psychometrics, which involve a tremendous amount of high mathematics making it a hard science of sorts, but due to its high level of controversy and inaccuracy, the subjective nature of psychometrics makes it in the soft science fields of psychology and psychometrics is an in-between field proving that there is no really black and white definition separating a hard major from a soft major

    academics, yet again:

    while the hard majors take more study time and memorization, the soft majors require the use of both sides of the brain and taps in on our intelectual characteristics as humans

    technicians and practitioners are from the hard majors, intellectuals and "artists" come from the soft majors

    so the debate rages on...what is better for a young mind in undergraduate school...soft majors or hard majors?

    it really depends on what you want to study and the idea of high school, general studies, and general ed is to make sure everybody has a little of both

    real world:

    so who makes more?

    the hard fields of doctors and dentists?

    of the soft fields of mbas and lawyers?

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