let me guess
The reason they enforce it so agressively is the threat to their cushy little licensing revenue stream?
Mats Järlström, a Swedish electronics engineer living in Oregon, who was fined last year for referring to himself as an engineer and doing math without a license has tentatively won the right to use the term in communications with the state. In 2015, Järlström sent email messages to the Oregon State Board of Examiners for …
The problem is that there a couple of professions that call themselves engineers and there's some history in licensing professions. E.g. an HVAC guy or building engineer isn't the same as a civil engineer or electrical engineer. ...
But if you're providing the HVAC or building engineering services you have to be licensed.
(just as doctors and lawyers are also licensed by the state too. )
What makes matters worse is that everyone loves to call themselves software engineers because that's their job title, even though they aren't software engineers. To be a software engineer you need to have graduated from a 4yr accredited engineering program.
So while its a fail what the Oregon agencies did, its a bit more complicated and unless you've had to deal with state and local governments you wouldn't understand.
An engineer isn't an engineer unless he's an engineer. Now which train do you want to ride?
To be a software engineer you need to have graduated from a 4yr accredited engineering program.
I expect that's an oversimplification?
Once upon a time I was on the staff of a Comp Sci department of a UK (Russell Group) University. So I was surrounded by people who were providing such courses to students. Yet hardly any of us had Comp Sci degrees ourselves (my own degree was Maths), so presumably we would not have qualified under your rules.
Seems to me the underlying story is, his initial approach was one of being an arse (albeit a smart one), and was met by a p***-off reaction. A reaction that was perfectly reasonable in principle (the flaws he found being irrelevant to the subject of his wife's ticket), but horribly botched in its execution.
Come to think of it ...
Yes, a student graduating through our department could qualify automatically for BCS membership and with it Chartered Engineer status after a qualifying period (possibly four years) in relevant employment. Yet we who educated those students had no such automatic path. Ho, hum.
Yet we who educated those students had no such automatic path. Ho, hum
I had a lecturer who was well versed in his field having worked in industry for a long time and had some qualifications to boot. He was contacted by a lecturer at a US university who addressed all communications to him as Professor Hannay*. He told us he laughed the first time a letter arrived as he certainly didn't have a Masters or a PHD. Don't think he ever corrected the American on this as he was enjoying it too much.
*Hannay (obviously**) not his real name
** Stolen from the 39 Steps by John Buchan
While at Yale the faculty used to make a point of calling each other "Mister", because everyone was a PhD. The whole "doctor" thing is way overblown, mostly by overblown people. There are those of us in tech with multiple graduate degrees, including doctorates, but no one I know of refers to themselves as "doctor". Having said that, there's nothing wrong with being proud of your academic achievements, particularly at the graduate level. It's using them to somehow diminish the often equally valuable experience and skill of others that's objectionable.
The whole "doctor" thing is way overblown, mostly by overblown people. [...] but no one I know of refers to themselves as "doctor"
Methinks you miss the point. People don't call themselves Doctor (unless perhaps in a CV situation), but it's really useful for addressing a stranger in formal or semi-formal correspondence. Works equally for both sexes where there's any uncertainty, and is unlikely to offend even if it's not technically correct.
" It is always safer to call a Lecturer "Professor" then to accidentally call a Professor "Lecturer" or "Instructor." Most people address faculty as "Doctor" just to be safe as well. "
In most of the universities I've studied or worked in, people tend to call teaching staff by their names.
" Professor is a job title, not a degree. There was nothing improper. "
True. However, in the American system, it's synonymous with "lecturer", whereas in the UK it is reserved for the academics at the top of the tree, and once you become a prof, you are always a prof, just you become a "professor emeritus/emerita" once you're no longer in post. You'll be expected to go back to your old university every now and then to lecture, and to supervise the occasional masters or PhD student, so you never fully retire.
Yes - as the layperson you are: just as a plumber, shopkeeper or janitor can discuss traffic lights in Oregon.
However, you can not claim to be authoritative about the engineering of the traffic lights - a PhD in Physics does not qualify you to assume that you have competence in all matters technical and non-technical.
@BillG, so according to that logic I'm an amateur Engineer? I'm not state certified (that doesn't exist this side of the pond anymore afaik) but I am a professional and I'm an engineer (Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering). Just because some numpties thought it'd be cool to call themselves engineers when they are not shouldn't stop me from calling myself an engineer when I go to Oregon.
".....I'm an amateur Engineer? I'm not state certified (that doesn't exist this side of the pond anymore afaik) but I am a professional and I'm an engineer (Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering)...." In the UK the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers - not even a classical engineering field) started this by telling their members to abuse anyone that dared to call themselves an "Engineer" that did not have a BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) degree. I had one manager that used to sit in on interviews who took this too the extreme and would attack applicants that had "Software Engineer" on their CV but didn't have a BEng. It was all about protecting the "investment" they had made in their institute and had zero practical relevance. In the US it is again about protecting the licensing authorities - "You can't call yourself an Engineer unless you pay us."
"In the UK the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers - not even a classical engineering field) started this by telling their members to abuse anyone that dared to call themselves an "Engineer" that did not have a BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) degree."
The IEEE is a world wide institution. You may be thinking if the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), now called the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). I'm a member, the topic of giving Engineer a designated status comes up in their membership magazine every few years. Normally it's prompted by discussions on how to encourage youngsters to aspire to be engineers or how to address the skills gap. And generally comparisons with Architect in the UK or Engineer in Germany are made.
After much hand wringing it fizzles out with the general feeling of "you'll never make it stick". The chartered engineer status is the closest we have in the UK. You need an engineering degree (I.e. a BEng, not BA or BSc*) plus relevant experience (although alternative equivalents are available) and then you go through a (apparently**) rigorous process to be awarded CEng.
(*) BEng degrees can only be awarded for courses that have been accredited by a professional institution e.g. IET, BSC
(**) So I've been told. not done it myself.
"You can have a BSc and be a Chartered Engineer, I certainly am as the BSc(Hons) in Software Engineering I did was BCS accredited and the BCS still do Chartered Engineer status - http://www.bcs.org/category/16268"
The BCS will give you Chartered Engineer status if you've worked on a helpdesk for 5 years, let alone if you have a degree. I've got chartered engineer status from them and my degree was a BA in Anthropology.
The IEEE is a world-wide organisation. I am a senior member (which essentially means you have worked in the field long enough for them to send you a brass plaque, not that you have done anything really special), but have never lived or worked in the USA. I don't tend to call myself engineer, so could safely go to Oregon, I suppose.
The actual rule/law being challenged is that you can not refer to yourself as engineer at all, unless you are also a certified Professional Engineer. And, also, the rule does not only apply when soliciting work as an engineer. Just typical self-serving bureaucratic over-reach.
You can get a BS thru a non accredited engineering program.
Your degree (BS or BE ) has to be thru an accredited 4yr engineering program.
(BS in College of Arts & Science != BS in College of Engineering)
PE (Professional Engineering) is someone who has gone thru the process outlined here:
PE is not governed by the state.
Then you have the use of engineering that is governed by the state. (e.g HVAC, building services, etc ...)
That's the end of story.
"In Canadaland foe some advertised jobs you apparently need a degree in computer science to unpack & put a PC on a desk & offer deskside support."
Yes, my 1987 Computing Science degree has got me nothing more than being labelled an IT Engineer unpacking boxes. And the longer it goes on with people only being prepared to pay me to be a pizza delivery boy, the more people refuse to consider me for anything other than being a pizza delivery boy.
Canada is one of only a few countries where being able to call yourself an engineer requires formal acknowledgement and qualifications. It may be a little ridiculous from the perspective of the UK where there is no recognition of the value of engineering and would not know a Chartered Engineer from Adam.
"To be a software engineer" ..... there are no formal requirements in treh UK, certainly not an accredited 4 year engineering degree. My engineering degree was 3 years and I held many roles with software engineer in the title.
Interestingly whist Oregon regulates more that 20 branches of engineering, according to their list they don't regulate software engineers so I don't believe they could get snotty with you if you call yourself a software engineer.
"To be a software engineer you need to have graduated from a 4yr accredited engineering program."
No, you'll still just be "a college grad from an engineering program".
Software Engineer itself is just a proud title, like any other titles like "Artist", "Manager", "Programmer", "creator", "writer", etc. They are given by person / people/ company to look better commercial, because there are no governments in this world who can create license/certificate for software engineering before they are outdated. Their xp machines are kind of self explanatory.
Back to topic, the whole Oregon State thing was just overreaching especially when stating "Engineer" is just a plain title. He didn't state the specific "Swedish electronics engineer", "Qualified Engineer", "Professional Engineer", "Licensed Engineer" or "Practicing Engineer" and got the practicing unlicensed engineering fine. Screw them for being an a***hole.
I don't have a degree (got a job whilst studying for my HNC) but I've 30 years worth of industry experience. I've occasionally used the term Software Engineer to describe my job title IF the work I've been doing warrants it (e.g. writing my own scripting language as part of a project I was working on). If I'm just doing boring Line Of Business apps then I'm a developer.
"An engineer isn't an engineer unless he's an engineer"
Engineering warrants are there to not allow unqualified people to design/build machines and structures that could cause severe damage to people and property if they fail. They aren't there to prevent the general public pointing out when government is making an arse of itself
I don't get the whole calling yourself an engineer thing.
I've a BEng in Aeronautical Engineering, but I don't call myself an Engineer because I don't work as an engineer. Nor do I call myself a Software Engineer because I didn't train as one, even though I spend [most of] my day writing software. The closest I come to describing myself as an engineer is that I was trained as an engineer, although pedants might pick me up on that, seeing as I never touched engineering outside of academia.
"... everyone loves to call themselves software engineers because that's their job title, even though they aren't software engineers. To be a software engineer you need to have graduated from a 4 yr accredited engineering program."
No, they call themselves software engineers because the people who pay their salary gave them the title, "software engineer". I know many developers who aren't comfortable with the engineer title and would prefer something more accurate, like "solution developer" or just plain "developer". Systems Engineers are in the same boat. Many of us actually prefer "Systems Administrator", but the higher-ups associate the "administrator" part with positions that pay a lot less and require less sophisticated skills.
As for having to graduate from a 4 year accredited engineering program, that's not the law in any place I know of (maybe in Oregon?). It's not even an accepted convention. Back when the whole systems engineer moniker became a thing (after vendors like Microsoft promoted it as part of their own certification process), companies jumped on the bandwagon pretty quickly, mostly to retain and recruit top talent -- and to justify what they had to pay them. After a few years about the only place you didn't see the title in wide use was academia. For those of us fortunate (and hard working) enough to wind up as systems engineers making twice what a university engineering professor earns, that wasn't a big deal.
I get the resentment on the part of those who have survived the arduous process of completing formal education in civil engineering, and passing their licensing exam, against the kind of "title inflation" that's rampant in the business world. But it is what it is. Get over it. The "PE" suffix still means as much as it ever did. It hasn't been diminished one whit by any of the marketing speak coming out of corporate HR.
I did notice quite a few blokes standing around the petrol pumps as I drove thru Oregon recently. I have a nasty suspicious mind, so I suspect that law is really meant to get the unemployables a "job," and make every driver cough up more moolah to pay for those jobs.
Not sure if that's evil, or brilliant.
"[...] so I suspect that law is really meant to get the unemployables a "job," [...]"
In apartheid South Africa government offices had lifts (elevators) that were manned by otherwise unemployable white men. The lifts were push button jobs with automatic doors - so strictly a political sinecure.
Gene, I respectfully disagree! Given that the natural climate here in Oregon (well, the western part at least) is cold/damp and miserable for half the year, I am happy to have someone pump gas for me while I stay in my nice warm car. In years of living here, I've never heard anyone complain about not being able to pump their own. In fact it's the reverse - when we go out-of-state we grumble about having to do it.
Every so often it comes up on the state ballot sheet, pushed by the oil companies: "would you like to switch to self-service gas? it'll result in cheaper gas prices!". And everytime, the good folk of Oregon look across the state line to Washington, Idaho or California, see equal-or-higher gas prices there, and realize that self-service would just pad the oil companies' profits. So the measure gets consistently voted down.
Anyway, the real reason this story happened is because it's Beaverton. It's a very anti-motorist municipality with crazy strict speed limit enforcement and cameras. Almost like being in the UK, in fact - a place that really does deserve the term "nanny state".
Really? Having lived here for my entire life I somehow must have missed the 'big university' in our midst. Beaverton could only hope to be guilty of such a elite status.
And yes, in Oregon one of our prerogatives is to never pump our own gas. Yes we really do like it that way.
I agree. I used to think the "can't pump your own gas" was a control freak thing. We live in a neighboring state, and our gas prices are higher than they are in Oregon, and I have to freeze my ass in the winter and fry my ass in the summer to pump my own gas. Suddenly the idea doesn't sound too bad!
"It's a very anti-motorist municipality with crazy strict speed limit enforcement and cameras. Almost like being in the UK"
Really? We have had massive police cuts, I haven't seen a police car in weeks, the local force is not interested in enforcing drug laws on cannabis and it's just been reported that the Met can't police graffiti due to resource constraints. Also, I've never heard of private camera companies fiddling the amber to ensure drivers get caught, as has happened in the US. Quite the reverse. Our new "smart" traffic lights seem biased in favour of letting drivers through.
As for "gas stations", I go to the self service one, because I can insert card, open cap, remove card, fill up and be gone in the time it takes to go to the desk, and stand in the queue to pay at the local supermarkets.
As a resident of Oregon, I feel duty-bound to point out that not being able to pump your own gas isn't something that is imposed on the citizenry, it's something that the citizenry wants. Despite the very strong lobbying from gas station owners and gas companies who get the issue put up for a vote every few years, Oregon residents consistently vote to keep the prohibition in place.
You might personally find it offensive, but it's what the people want.
I would honestly run up the skull and crossbones and start opening gas stations with after-hours automatic pumps in more remote areas - and let the law be damned. One of those weird old laws that wouldn't actually be enforced is my bet. What on earth is the rationale behind it anyway?!
Sheesh, I remember my dad telling me about a station with an automatic petrol pump on the A9 in Scotland back in the 1960s - a long and, at night, notorious dry stretch of road in terms of petrol. Saved his arse on one occasion when he miscalculated his fuel consumption at 2am! This was in the days when credit cards were still fairly exotic and rare - so it took pound notes! If Scotland could do it 50 years ago, America can do it today! :D
"One of those weird old laws that wouldn't actually be enforced is my bet."
You'd lose that bet on both counts. The last time the issue was put up for public vote was two years ago, so it's not an "old law" -- or at least, it's a law that got recently reaffirmed by the public. And it is enforced. You'd get fined, and you'd also discover that no gas distributors will sell to you anymore.
On the plus side, the law was changed a year or so ago so that you can pump your own gas in the eastern portion of the state. There are relatively few people who live there, though, as it's a desert.
"What about after hours service?"
Starting around 2010 most stations I visited after midnight just straight up turned their pumps off. They'd accept credit cards, but pump a grand total of five cents of fuel before cutting off. In one town I coasted into on fumes (Gilroy, California), EVERY station in town did that in 2012, and I had to pray I'd make it to the nearest truck stop. Maybe it's a fraud-prevention thing? I don't know.
So apparently it's not human attendants making service suck, it's the owners.
All the stations here are self service and close about 10pm to 11pm. There might be a 24 hr somewhere in the city.
There is CCTV. Only some require payment before filling, or after dark or if they are suspicious.
I see no advantage in "being able to pump your own gas". Self service was only to benefit operators, not customers.
I nearly came unstuck in mainland Europe many years back travelling back to the UK on a Sunday. At the time petrol stations in the UK were open on Sunday and chip and pin hadn't been rolled out.
This left me with not enough fuel and petrol stations which would accept credit cards but needed a pin. If I hadn't met a very kind European who accepted a cheque in return for paying for my fuel at the pump I would have been stranded with two young kids.
Naive, I know, but it just didn't occur to me that a whole country would be sensible enough to give their petrol station workers the weekend off like nearly everybody else. Fine for them with chip and pin (or just pin) but a wake up call to a wandering Brit.
I don't think this was all for the benefit of the fuel companies, either. Could have saved them some unsocial hours payments, perhaps, but possibly more for the benefit of the staff.
I see no advantage in "being able to pump your own gas". Self service was only to benefit operators, not customers.
Not entirely true.
As a motorcyclist, self-service can allow me to remain on the bike should I desire to do so1, but also it comes down to the simple fact that I won't let someone touch my bike unless a) they also ride and b) I trust them enough. Not for fuel or anything.
This is borne from experience - I've twice (and only twice that I placed myself at risk) had pump attendants do damage, one scratching the paint as he dragged the nozzle over the tank the other as he pulled the nozzle out, forgetting to let go of the handle, and sprayed petrol over the instruments. Besides, I have the experience to fill the tank to the top without spilling a drop, and I have the knowledge+experience to allow for the weather and my riding plans; ie if it's a hot day and I'm not riding far I'll leave an air gap2, but if it's a cold day or my next stop is a good 30 minutes away I don't need to worry about leaving an air gap. Paying at the pump without leaving the bike can help here, as I can close the cap as soon as I've finished and be on my way a second or two later, with a full load of fuel and no worries about expansion (I also chose my stops carefully so as to avoid things like being caught in traffic with an "over-full" tank)
1 Rather ill advised but not necessarily a bad thing. If you have an accident and for some reason something catches fire, it's a lot easier to get away from a burning bike when you're not on it than when you are. However, I have not heard of this actually happening. Static is very unlikely to be a problem as the rider is not leaving and returning to the vehicle.
2 The petrol, the tank, and any air in the tank expand. This can lead to petrol leaking from the cap under some pressure, which of course can proceed to drip onto hot exhausts which apparently could ignite. I've done the "dripping onto exhaust" but have been fortunate enough not to have witnessed the ignition.
I dunno, millenials. When I was in my early 20s, living in a not very rural area in SE suburban Surrey (England) you couldnt buy fuel after 5pm on Friday until 8am on Monday without drving 10 miles to the nearest big town. So you looked at the little needle or took the lid of the fuel tank and looked in, and made sure you had enough to get to the pub on Saturday night and work on Monday morning.
you couldnt buy fuel after 5pm on Friday until 8am on Monday without drving 10 miles to the nearest big town. So you looked at the little needle or took the lid of the fuel tank and looked in, and made sure you had enough to get to the pub on Saturday night and work on Monday morning.
I'm old enough to remember those days as well, though of course not in Surrey. And yeah, you planed your life around things like that. Shops closed on a Sunday, make sure you buy what you want beforehand or do without (or borrow from the neighbours), things break down you fix it, do without, or see the neighbours. Everything (except the telly) stopped completely on the weekend. And shortly before I came along even the telly was barely on, only a single channel and only a few hours a day.
I was helping a mate with his garden recently wondering why so few people kept them these days. The answer is kinda clear. These days people will spend an hour or few on "social media" after work. Years ago that hour or so was spent doing stuff around the house, often chatting with neighbours (or the family) while it was done. You could easily spend an hour in the garden each evening because you seldom had anything better to do with your time!
("So few" refers of course to those who actually have space for a garden, I realise many don't)
In Oregon and many other states, the public and courts long ago decided that there are certain business practices that the public benefits from, and relies on, certain professional practioners being certified by the state as being competent, educated, trained and up-to-date on technologies as well regulations. Those regulations are designed to both protect the public and to ensure the public is protected equally and without prejudice. Government does that. Corporations don't have to.
Because the public has vital interest in ensuring that police are tested, that fire-fighters and EMTs are tested and certified, that doctors are board-certified and required to have ongoing training. So why is it such a stretch for people to realize that our roads, bridges, the foundations of our major building, the water pipes, the sewer systems, all that infrastructure, designed by engineers, would also need to be done by verified-competent people. No, very few would argue that's somehow not needed. Of COURSE Civil Engineers, Building Engineers and other public-works engineers have to be trained and certified and tested.
But, here's where people are conjoining two issues. The issue that this guy is running afoul of is NOT that he claims a title. It's that he's arguing that HIS information on how traffic and traffic signals work is just as valid as that of an actual certified Professional Engineer, and that his advice should be taken as such. The problem is that regardless of how "good" or "true" his information is, by him recommending how to make changes in the systems, he is in fact "practicing" Professional Engineering, because he's giving "advice" to Professional Engineers about the work that they are doing in their professional roles. The leap people are missing is this: if any of those engineers DID use his information, even if only by reference, because the guy is NOT a PE, those PEs could lose their jobs and license for using unverified information. If they followed his advice and someone died, guess who would be held professionally liable? ALL OF THEM. Luckily, the licensed guys would at least get defended by the state. But their license would be gone because they used data they knew was not valid. The state would be liable because they allowed the changes. But worse would be THE GUY....he'd be on the hook for ALL of the culpability, because he provided that advice as an unlicensed, illegally-practicing Engineer.
Yes, the fine is silly. But, we all know engineers, even European Dipl. Engrs pull out that sheepskin all the time in justifying their intrustion into some technical discussion. Just like doctors and lawyers and all the high-status people do. The problem is that while that might be fine to claim at a party, or a first date, you should NEVER say that to someone who really IS a P.E. It would be like you watching cop shows and thinking you're a private eye, and then telling a cop that you're a detective too, and that's why he should listen to you. Sure, he'll chuckle at first, but if you persist and insist, he's gonna slam you for impersonating an officer at some level. Same with playing doctor at the local hospital, or claiming you're a lawyer to some local business owner who actually DOES keep one on retainer.
In the end, to me, the PEs were correct to ignore his advice, because the guy cannot possibly know all the regulations and other factors involved...otherwise, he'd be a certified Professional Traffic Engineer too...but he's NOT. And the people of Oregon should applaud those PEs for keeping untested and unverified claims out of traffic systems that could devastate the lives of thousands in one bad morning commute, the liability for which will fall to every single person in the state.
And before you say "oh, pishah, that'll never happen", I got three words for you: Flint Michigan Water. Enough said?
"he's arguing that HIS information on how traffic and traffic signals work is just as valid as that of an actual certified Professional Engineer"
No, he's arguing - **with evidence** - that the engineers who implemented the system left bugs in it.
Same thing in Canada. Also, the relevant Act overreaches horribly. It gives jurisdiction over all use of math and physics to solve real world problems to the local band of incompetents that run the professional organization. It should be repealed and replaced with something less asinine.
He did the math and showed his work. There no need to trust his opinion, no matter what credentials he does or doesn't have -- you can check his work.
" the PEs were correct to ignore his advice, because the guy cannot possibly know all the regulations and other factors involved"
Actually, yes, he did know all the regulations involved -- he put a serious amount of research into this. But there was really only one that mattered: he was able to prove that the light timing was in violation of state law, and state law trumps other regulations.
Also, understand a nuance here -- the board was not in line with the law on this. The law says you can't call yourself an engineer if you aren't licensed and you are acting in a professional capacity (in other words, if you are soliciting or performing a job). There's no law that says you can't call yourself an engineer in a more casual sense.
A work colleague lost her husband due to him coming off his bike and dying. The accident had from memory severed the spine and spinal cord and caused severe trauma to the chest. A friend who is a doctor when I told him said that the injuries and lack of pulse and breathing would be a good indicator at the scene that the victim was dead. I said would a doctor be needed to confirm this and was told no the paramedics/police can do it. He said in the case I'd mentioned it would fairly obvious from just looking at the body.
"said that the injuries and lack of pulse and breathing would be a good indicator at the scene that the victim was dead. I said would a doctor be needed to confirm this and was told no the paramedics/police can do it."
You're getting a few things mixed up here. Police have a duty to preserve life so they can only call off attempts to save under very limited circumstances. Lack of pulse isn't one of those, but they will defer to a paramedic (or Ambulance tech).
Doctors are understandably reluctant to get dragged into every death, but some they need to. If they've been treating the patient previously or if there are any possible criminal or negligence causes are the obvious ones but I don't remember the rules exactly.
Everyone is trying to cover their arse in case it turns out that the deceased could have been saved and they end up on manslaughter charges. Ironically this means someone somewhere else might die because there weren't enough resources or they arrive too late, but that's the result of the hang 'em if they make a mistake society that we're created.
It is actually very simple: The Swedish fellah claims the P.E.s have let a bug though, and send the math to show what the bug is. The reasonable reply would be to get a P.E. to go through it and either accept it or reject it WITH A JUSTIFICATION.
If the claim is accepted, it is now verified and tested.
They have admitted they violated his free speech, they just ask to be trusted to not do it again without a court-order that over-turns their whole rotten and useless revenue-stream.
You can't be bothered to understand the story but do want us to read your long meandering post.
He was offering citizen testimony, not professional advice. All you have to do is require board certification to call yourself a "Professional Enginner" (P.E.) and then make sure your laws and law-makers understand the difference between an engineer and a P.E. You shouldn't get to lay claim to an uncapitalized word that goes back >600 years because you're afraid your law makers are too stupid to understand someone's credentials.
"The leap people are missing is this: if any of those engineers DID use his information, even if only by reference, because the guy is NOT a PE, those PEs could lose their jobs and license for using unverified information. If they followed his advice and someone died, guess who would be held professionally liable? ALL OF THEM."
Surely a fully qualified and licensed engineer is capable of looking at data and information and assessing it and, if necessary, going out and collecting is own data to verify it rather than blindly using data and/or advice from someone not licensed.
Of course, this brings up the question of where the very first licensed engineer got his data from if you are only allowed to collect and use data from other licensed engineers.
Technically you cannot call yourself an architect in the UK without being a registered with the ARB.
From their website: "Under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, the title ‘architect’ is protected. It can only be used in business or practice by someone who has had the education, training and experience needed to become an architect, and who is registered with us."
"Under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, the title ‘architect’ is protected. It can only be used in business or practice by someone who has had the education, training and experience needed to become an architect, and who is registered with us."
Even then it would be a good idea for architects to listen to others. Some years ago Zara Hadid was in the running for the Stirling prize with a design for a fire-station. In the TV programme about the prize the building was reviewed by a fire-fighter who pointed out various features making it unsatisfactory for use as a fire-station. One I recall was that handrails had unprotected ends making them dangerous for anyone running through the building - which is something that happens in fire-stations. From wikipedia: "When completed, it never served as a fire station, as the government requirements for industrial firefighting were changed."
...no railways in Oregon, eh?
Seriously now: I think the issue here is that the state has appropriated the word "engineer" and given it the meaning of "chartered engineer" instead of its more common meaning, i.e. someone who has completed an education in engineering. Now, imagine a professional engineer -certified or not- from another state who sends a mail to someone in OR giving professional advice as an engineer and identifying himself as such. Could he be fined or even charged with some sort of interstate fraud? Ridiculous, isn't it?
Easy solution: swap the "engineer" term in Oregon legal system for "State Certified Engineer" or similar, and make the title compulsory for professional engineers working and residing in Oregon. Fixed!
I agree, the regulated term should be "certified engineer" or somesuch. On the not-quite-as-bad-as-it-sounds side, though, the law only applies to a broad, but specific range of types of engineering. There's a bit of gray area and interpretation involved in the legal language, but it's accepted that "software engineer", for example, is not covered. Nor is "train engineer".
The general thrust that the law is clearly trying to cover is that you can't use "engineer" in any way that implies that you are licensed, unless you are.
If you want to try to decipher it for yourself, check this out: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors672.html
But be careful, you don't want to accidentally be practicing law without a license.
"But be careful, you don't want to accidentally be practicing law without a license."
I suspect that isn't enforced quite as you envisage...
"Your honour, I did it, but I'm not a licensed lawyer, so it isn't actually legal for me to know what the law is, nor was it legal for at least some of the state legislators to have voted to make it the law in the first place.
> more common meaning, i.e. someone who has completed an education in engineering
Right. Because every McDonald's employee has completed an education in customer service or catering.
Seriously, title and education have really anything to do with each other, except in a few select cases, and engineering is not one of them.
"Oregon should give anyone that wants to call themselves an Engineer a blunt drill and get them to sharpen it as a minimum requirement"
I agree wholeheartedly with sentiment.
People waving bits of paper, that they acquired decades ago (when they were barely out of puberty).
Where's the body of work?
You get your schooling to start you on a path of learning.
Rare it would be, for someone to leave school as an engineer.
More likely they will have been good at Maths, English, and Physics, and progressed onward to learn theory, and equations, in various targeted areas of the physical world.
When they finally leave school... maybe they will begin to master an individual area.
Why not call yourself a 'hydraulics engineer', or an 'electrical engineer' etc.
But Engineer... all encompassing?
But if you are calling yourself an engineer... you'd better be able to conceptualise a solution, design it (with tolerances), make the tools to make the prototype, and make the prototype (sharpening drill bits as and when needed).
... and, if you have kept learning, as most genuine engineers do... you can probably also write the control software for it
If you can't do all that, but you have mastered a specific field, then fine.
Call yourself an xxxxxx engineer with well earned pride, and gain your respect.
But to call yourself an 'Engineer'?
Yes; well I guess that you can get away with it .
The rest tend to wave outdated exam results in the air.
But if you are calling yourself an engineer... you'd better be able to conceptualise a solution, design it (with tolerances), make the tools to make the prototype, and make the prototype (sharpening drill bits as and when needed).
Hey, I can do all that! Cool! So, I can start calling myself an Engineer now? No? How about "Conceptual Design Engineer"? Not willy-wavy enough? Let me think a minute.....
And no, never would. To mechanical and structural engineers I'd consider it an insult to call me one, and with electrical "engineers" (those who wire up houses) and civil engineers, I'd consider it a punishable-by-death insult to call me one*...
*Based of course on my experience with the utter fucking mind-blowing stupidity I've seen with civil engineers and electrical engineers - some of whom are responsible for loss of life in this country (and we were really lucky a year ago not to have had more
Bought a Drill Doctor to take care of that problem ... and always keep a copy of the Machinery's Handbook close at hand ....
Lived in shame that my degree was in Electrical Engineering and employed title was Electronics Engineer ...
Preferred title is Research and Development Scientist/Engineer ...
Russell Johnson without the coconuts and bamboo ...
Clearly the bulk of the Reg audience isn't a fan of professional engineering licensure in the US. I understand freeing the word "engineer", but I think that is only half the discussion here. Most of us are software folks, and after a few more Toyota situations (that is to say, software-based deaths) normal people will have the same reaction they had when bridges and dams were failing that led to the current laws. So far governments tolerate software, computer, even MCS engineers, but I see a future where it isn't so, and "the public" is demanding the author of such-and-so deadly bug never be allowed to work in the field again.
This is a serious question, what is the legislative framework you would suggest? Politics being politics "something must be done," and if there's a good proposal maybe we could commend it. I suspect the default is they'll just extend what we have, which the Reg readership seems not to like.
Reg commentards are clever, I'm genuinely interested in what you are thinking.
I dont get the vibe that people on here are against professional licensing and standards. They seem to dislike arbitrary monopolies. Words have power, and the words used by Oregan to determine who should practice professionally within their area are woolly and poor (they are not the only part of the world who suffer from this issue)
To be an engineer is similar to being a scientist; its a way of mind, a process, but not a specific set of experiences or qualifications.
Hence most of us professional tend to be more specific, its why our business cards and email sigs tend to have all those boring letters, its a mini cv for you to work out our professional training, affiliations and codes of standards we have signed up to; for example mine often reads Marine Electrical Engineer EngTech MEng MIET MIMarEST.
If for safety or professional standards you have to restrict practice, it would be sensible to just use a prefix which makes it clear. in Oregon's case State Licensed Engineer would make sense, because they do not have the right or authority to determine standards outside their geographic area. Similarly there is a huge difference between practicing engineering, being professional, and earning money from it. They would be wise to revisit where they draw the line on requiring a license as an engineer in order to not criminalize well meaning amateurs and out of state visiting professionals.
I think a better alternative relies on liability rather than official sanctioning of specific titles. Require software houses to be bonded, and make them liable for damages cause by negligence. A bit like how carpenters are handled.
Anything more is unnecessary and benefits the big players at the expense of the small ones -- exactly the opposite of what we need to maintain a healthy industry.
Unfortunately software writers have very little control over what goes on beneath their code (the operating system), or indeed, the generation of the code itself (the compiler/interpreter/linker). In my days working on GEC mini-mainframes I used to keep a circular buffer log of all data that originated from third-partiy messages or memory locations, which was wheeled out to defend myself when the finger of blame was pointed in my direction. Even so, system and higher priority processes could pull the rug from under that scheme. To do similar on GUI interfaces is just too big an overhead, plus the effort in analysing memory dumps is not practical.
I'm a P.E. but I work in a discipline supporting a highly regulated field in which safety of life requires formal proof.
Such is not the case for most engineers. I respect their work and their ability to call what they do by the most straightforward and appropriate title. That said I do expect to see some education in the maths and hard sciences for one to call oneself an 'engineer'. When I see 'Microsoft Certified Engineer' on a resume... lets just say there had better be something else on there!!
The dark side of regulation in the US is that in many trades (plumbing, electrical, later HVAC) regulation pretty much existed to keep minorities out. In some locales official corruption enabled registration to serve as an enabler for certain organized crime rackets. Not a pretty history
The problem here, and it is a real problem, is that he claimed that the math was done by an engineer.
And in Oregon, the word "engineer" is/was defined to be someone who was licenced to safely do design calculations. (As such, he would, of course, have had insurance to cover design failures and incompetence.)
The new ruling is that the state government can't depend on a persons claim that they are competent: the state government is now permitted and required to make their own determination of that fact.
Oregon courts still rule that he can't call himself a lawyer and practice law: they don't have sufficient intelegance and morality to apply a consistant set of rules to lawyers and doctors and engineers.
You may have a point there. In much of my grad school work in hard sciences I felt like I was the one getting random and over the top punishments. It's not called being a lab slave entirely without reason.
I wouldn't blame the profession though for the idiotic actions of the state. When it comes to Government do not assume malice when sheer, mind-numbing stupidity is also a valid explanation. Occam votes for the latter.
The Swedish guy knew what he was talking about, so enough said there, imho.
Off topic rant:
I think the real problem here goes back to education and Universities requiring private funding and that all starts with private schools for children whose parents can afford them. A few countries have made this practice illegal, which then forces the wealthy to pay into the public school system to ensure their children get a good education, like all children should. Under this system no school district is better than another, so all are well funded and I think that's how it should be.
So, then those applying to University have all had the same opportunity and the Universities then select those with the best opportunity to complete their chosen field of study. There is, or should be, none of the, "that child's parents paid for building so they get a free pass". At this point, the Universities are not suffering from a lack of funds and therefore don't have to pass enough students who aren't able to do the course work to keep a Department open. In fact, maybe some years a University might be able to not have a particular specialty, but rather send a student to another facility which had a larger number of successful students reach that goal without the threat of never being able to get the funding to put that specialty on again.
I also envision that this higher level of education would include room and board and possibly even a small stipend so that these students didn't need to work part- or full-time but rather be able to concentrate on their studies.
I've heard some countries are this good to their citizens. Sadly, mine is not.
Much to my shame, I lived in Beaverton for years. I was never so happy to leave anywhere as when I waved goodby forever to Pompously Pretentious Portlandia.
The problem is not that Oregon has a law about regulating the use of the word "engineer". A lot of cities, counties, states have truly dumb laws. (Such as sneezing on the street is punishable by fine because you might startle the horses!) You can find stupid laws everywhere you go.
The problem is that only the dipswitches in Beaverton were up themselves enough to try to enforce that bit of ridiculousness.
I assume this would cover most states, since in years past I've read guidelines from quite a few of the respective state government units assigned to such things (mostly Minnesota) -- details may vary:
"Professional Engineers" are necessary in US state transportation departments to design roads and bridges. I would also claim that the PE's would review each other's work and supervise the construction, inspection* and maintenance of said civil structures. (*And probably do the inspections themselves.)
In the 1960s, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) designed and built a certain bridge carrying a major freeway (motorway) over a major river (Interstate 35W over the Mississippi in Minneapolis; if you knew that already you may know where I'm going with this). I would attest a PE designed it, performed all the safety calculations, and other PEs reviewed the design and co-signed the blueprints. Certain thicknesses of various gusset plates where called for on the drawings, by design. And yet, whichever PE(s) was/were supervising construction did not verify the correct thickness was used in at least one location. And subsequent PEs involved with inspections and maintenance never caught the error in ~50 years. (Add in the politics that MnDOT didn't have proper funding for proper inspections, skipping some and reducing scope on others.)
And in 2007 the bridge came down. Hard.
Mistakes were made, and people DIED.
PEs are people too, and to err is human. Mistakes will be made, but the system is supposed to CATCH them. No, it doesn't help that the politics and finances reduced the opportunities to catch it, but it should have been caught BEFORE a single car crossed over.
THIS is why we have PEs: to address accountability. And yet, the system FAILED from Day One of that bridge's operating life.
The "PE" on anyone's business card means their mistakes can be catastrophic to others, and the testability of their mistakes is nigh impossible. It doesn't make them "SuperEngineer" incapable of error. And it doesn't make other "engineers" inferior, just not accountable to the general public for their results.
(Truth be told, it was a dumb bridge design anyway, without much, if any, redundancy / graceful degradation. But it was the best, or at least sufficient, for its time.)
And another thing...
Not letting anyone working in an engineering field refer to themselves occasional / casually as an "engineer" -- forcing them to name the field -- is akin to forcing doctors to always list their specialty and never just saying "I'm/He's/She's a doctor" at the next Christmas party. Or lawyers: I don't need to know criminal / civil / estate / family / etc. Doctor and lawyer and engineer and firefighter (regardless of truck/engine/squad) and mechanic (HVAC, car/truck, large truck, industrial plant, other) and secretary/admin. assistant (I don't care to whom or which department), blah blah blah. Let someone be generic once in a while.
My claims (and it's all on LinkedIn if you knew me):
Degrees: BS & MS, Electrical Engineering.
Career: over 12 years in a "mobility engineering" role/department that does not require a PE (but does involve the safety of strangers -- see my handle?).
Once took and passed the "Engineer-in-Training" exam en route to a PE title, but my career went elsewhere.
I participate in testing of my own work (and that of others) all the time. Our union driver/mechanics build prototypes on site and shake them out, all while under engineering supervision. We try to catch the design issues before the customer climbs inside, not after. (You can't say THAT for a bridge; you have to trust the PEs that it won't fail, period!)