Software Engineering

Stuart Jansen sjansen at
Sat Sep 9 20:36:33 MDT 2006

On Sat, 2006-09-09 at 20:16 -0600, Daniel C. wrote:
> So, I've been wondering - how *does* one become a software engineer?
> Note that I'm talking about a real, actual engineer here - not just
> someone with a degree in computer science.  If you're considering
> responding with "I'm a software engineer, I just picked up a book and
> taught myself <language>", please stop now and read this:
> Anyone?

What the hay? I'm on a roll lately, right? ( /me sends a shout out to
Ross )

Personally, I don't think it'll be possible to become a Professional
Engineer until software development becomes less messy. Right now, it is
much easier to consider all of the physical forces that will affect a
structure than it is to consider the vast universe of considerations
faced by large software systems. The establishment of university
programs focused on the software production process (software
engineering) instead of the theory of computation (computer science) is
a step in the right direction.

Coders are like welders. They practice a skill. They may not have the
prestige of architects and engineers, but the proper execution of their
skill is critical to the final result. Truly skilled welders can be
payed very well.

Computer scientists are like physicists and mathematicians. Some deign
to get their hands dirty and learn the facts of the real world, but
their most important contributions come from exploring the realm of the
strange and theoretical.

Software engineers will eventually be like, well, Professional
Engineers. People who bridge the world of computer scientists and the
realities encountered by coders.

In other words, I'm not aware of any way to become a "real" engineer
right now. But if you've ever wanted to pioneer a new field, you can be
part of making it possible in the future.

Stuart Jansen              e-mail/jabber: sjansen at
                           google talk:   stuart.jansen at

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at 
the results." -- Winston Churchill
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