Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 14:38:39 CST

My Ph.D. is also from a College of Engineering, from a major university
a bit north of The Farm. My point is that there are various state laws
surrounding the use of the word "engineer". It's unfortunate that
computer scientists started using that word. I think it would have
been better if we had come up with another word or phrase for those of
us who think of themselves as being computer or software engineers.

People who were involved with the ACM study started worrying that
someone might start demanding that professors teaching in departments
that call themselves "computer engineering" or who teach computer or
software engineering might suddenly find themselves forced to become
PEs. Fortunately, that hasn't happened, at least as far as I know.

As I said earlier, this is a topic about which I came to learn far more
than I ever wanted to know. You might find it interesting to read the
ACM reports on licensing software engineers, something that is already
happening in Texas.

And, being a member of IEEE does not make you an engineer. Legally,
you are an engineer only if you have qualified as a PE.


On Nov 30, 2006, at 3:53 AM, Arthur Keller wrote:

> At 2:06 PM -0800 11/25/06, Barbara Simons wrote:
>> You can find ACM's position on licensing of software engineers,
>> together with links to all of the reports mentioned above, at
>> I realize that we use the phrases "computer engineering" and "software
>> engineering" all the time. But I think we need to be judicious in the
>> use of those phrases, because of the legal implications surrounding
>> the
>> word "engineer".
> Gee, I'm a member of the IEEE. Does that make me an "engineer"?
> I think that the term "computer engineer" referring to people who
> design or build hardware and the term "software engineer" for people
> who design or build software is well understood in the technical
> vernacular. Since those who have gone through the PE licensing
> process are allowed to use that designation after their names, the
> question is easily settled whether someone has a license or not.
> When the person who takes away the trash is called a "sanitation
> engineer," it is clear that one must be more precise in using
> credentials than one need be for mere titles.
> Best regards,
> Arthur
> (whose Ph.D. was issued by a School of Engineering barely a few
> months after Stanford's Computer Science Dept. switched schools for
> better faculty salaries and more billets (i.e., faculty slots))
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424

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