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Topic Title: Misuse of term 'ENGINEER'
Topic Summary: 'Engineer' Profession and Title
Created On: 01 November 2007 09:34 AM
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 01 November 2007 09:34 AM
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arladak

Posts: 1
Joined: 08 December 2002

I notice that The Metro has today (01/11/2007) published an artice of news starting with reference to a criminal as 'AN ENGINEER has today.....'

Perhaps the IET should ask the editor to verify this persons 'Engineer' status and use this opportunity to promote awareness of the misuse of this title.

Edited: 01 November 2007 at 10:34 AM by arladak
 01 November 2007 01:35 PM
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afwilson

Posts: 793
Joined: 28 January 2002

News coverage of this case in other newspapers states that he has a degree in electrical engineering, which suggests that it is legitimate to describe him as an engineer.

-------------------------
Andrew F Wilson
IET Governance & Legal Affairs
 01 November 2007 06:17 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

The title of Engineer isn't protected by law. So I wouldn't have thought it is a matter of concern to the IET, ECUK or the ETB if anyone wants to call themselves Engineer.
 02 November 2007 05:07 PM
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kj scott

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Andrew,
A degree in electrical engineering is a qualification, it does not make you an engineer. Engineering status requires both education and professional experience.
I hope your statement does not reflect a view that the only engineer's are those with degree's.

-------------------------
http://www.niceic.biz
 02 November 2007 05:13 PM
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afwilson

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I did not intend to say who could not legitimately describe themselves as an engineer. I merely observed that in the UK someone with a degree in electrical engineering might legitimately describe themselves as an engineer.

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Andrew F Wilson
IET Governance & Legal Affairs
 02 November 2007 06:19 PM
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kj scott

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Joined: 02 April 2006

Andrew,
My first point is that an engineering degree does not make you an engineer. It make you a graduate.

-------------------------
http://www.niceic.biz
 02 November 2007 11:47 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
Joined: 13 June 2005

Originally posted by: kj scott
My first point is that an engineering degree does not make you an engineer. It make you a graduate.

I disagree. A Degree (or HND/HNC for that matter) in Engineering does make you an Engineer because it isn't protected by law.

Back in the 80s Graduates who joined the IERE as Graduate members and had secured jobs whether it were on their first day or their 5th year, were recognised in the RC&BL as professional Electronic & Radio Engineers.

I accept that times have now changed and that bodies like the IET regard experience and competence as factors that determine when a graduate is a registered Engineer.

However, just because attitudes have changed today doesn't mean that newly qualified graduates are no longer employed as Engineers in industry, even if the IET doesn't recognise this.

Everyone gets a job title even on their first day at work.

Our belief about what makes an Engineer counts for nothing if we, as a profession, haven't taken the steps to protect it by law.

It's Chartered Engineers, Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians that members should be focusing their attentions on, and not the Engineer title that's free floating in international waters....as they say.

Edited: 02 November 2007 at 11:48 PM by mbirdi
 08 November 2007 12:21 AM
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kj scott

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Whilst you may disagree, you arguement is unsound.
Why does the institute require evidence of professional experience and responsibility for the grades of I Eng and C Eng.
If a degree is all that is required, lets all do it, after all a degree is only 3 half days a week and can it always be done in prison, maybe the person in question might get his masters next time, then he can be Eur Ing.

-------------------------
http://www.niceic.biz
 08 November 2007 08:52 AM
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irevans

Posts: 192
Joined: 07 March 2002

kj scott,

I think you miss the point - since the "title" "Engineer" is not protected by law:
- engineer does not imply CEng,
- engineer does not imply IEng,
- engineer does not imply any professional engineer

and therefore it can quite legally and not improperly be used in English in the same way that scientist can be used to refer to some one with basic (or in some cases no) qualifications.

This subject has been going on for years (I remember my Dad discussing it) but there really is little point arguing about the use of the term "engineer" since it is well entrenched in the English language - better to concentrate on establishing better recognition for professional engineers.

And by the way, just because someone is in prison does not mean they cannot be a good engineer, professional or otherwise.

Regards,
Ian.

-------------------------
irevans
 08 November 2007 02:13 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
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Originally posted by: kj scott
Whilst you may disagree, you arguement is unsound.

Why does the institute require evidence of professional experience and responsibility for the grades of I Eng and C Eng.

If a degree is all that is required, lets all do it, after all a degree is only 3 half days a week and can it always be done in prison, maybe the person in question might get his masters next time, then he can be Eur Ing.

I entirely agree with irevans reply. I also know where you're coming from because I would have made the same mistake some years back. Some still make that mistake including registered members.

If you asked a Chartered Accountant if they were an Account, they would immediately rubbish that title as trash and explain the distinction between an ordinary Accountant and a Chartered Accountant. In fact the more distance there is between an Accountant and a Chartered Accountant the better for the Chartered Accountant. The reason being that the public would realise that the cowboys work as Accountants and the professionals work as Chartered Accountants.

However if you asked a Chartered Engineer if they were an Engineer, it is most likely they would say yes, because they have a affection for the title of Engineer.

In the context of the IET and ECUK, the title of Engineer has to be treated as trash otherwise the profession is effectively accepting any old cowboys who call themselves Engineers as being of the same level as CEng and IEng.

So I believe that anyone with or without a degree can call themselves an Engineer because the title on its own is trash. I know that some registered members will find that painful to hear.

By the way Both the MSc and Eur Ing are Engineers. Except that one's academically qualified yet adopting the trash title of Engineer and the other is the real Professional Engineer.

Finally, how do you suppose the IET can award the title of 'Young Engineer of the year' to a school kid, given that they couldn't have obtained a degree let alone gained experience to be registered as CEng or IEng?

Edited: 08 November 2007 at 03:08 PM by mbirdi
 21 November 2007 11:03 AM
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jamesshaw

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Joined: 22 January 2003

Sign this....

Link removed/Engineers/
 21 November 2007 04:34 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Originally posted by: jamesshaw

Sign this....

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Engineers/


Why should the governement spend public money on this? "I think that this should be protected in law..." is not an argument, it is the petitioner's point of view.

If anyone can come up with a petition which explains why it would be in the public interest to spend money to protect this title then yes, I would happily sign it. Although as Mehmood has said very well here and elsewhere:
-> what's the point when Chartered and Incorporated are already protected, and
-> stopping all vaguely technical people being called "engineers" is as likely as stopping all ball-point pens being called "biros".

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 21 November 2007 06:29 PM
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michaelkenward

Posts: 16
Joined: 10 September 2006

It is amusing, but depressing, to see people still banging on about the use of the "engineer" word. This same "debate" has been going on ever since I started to encounter engineers, 40 years ago. (No, I am not one, I was, a long time ago, a scientist.)

Why depressing? Because it means you whitter among yourselves over something that is, in the final analysis, trivial.

Stop crying about misused labels. Get out there and persuade people that engineering matters. Enthuse young people about it. Explain to them what the word means. Show them what you do.

That's what I have done for many a year, and I don't even have the right letters after my name.

For more evidence of the futility of this debate, trot on over to The Royal Academy of Engineering and read their report Public Attitudes to and Perceptions of Engineering and Engineers 2007.

This otherwise sad study - scientists did this stuff 20 years ago and have moved on to some real issue - does have the redeeming feature of providing a benchmark that we can all watch for signs of change.

The single biggest thing that engineers could to to improve their image would be to learn how to write, and to get out and communicate as well as all of those media scientists. Instead, too many engineers get sniffy about anyone who does go out and proselytise.
 28 November 2007 05:31 PM
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kasese

Posts: 183
Joined: 31 March 2006

Don't worry too much about it - I ride a motorbike and the press always start bad news articles including non traffic related related "a biker" - some one in a stolen car is a joy rider but some one on a stolen motorbike is - Still a biker.
The phrase "biker" seems draw the publics' attention even if it's not relevant.
They (Press) must think engineers are bad guys -

Regards,
Tim Guy
MSc IEng MIET
 29 November 2007 08:59 AM
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achung

Posts: 364
Joined: 22 November 2001

What a laugh !!!

I like it.

-------------------------
Allen Chung
MSc(Eng) MSc CEng MIET MIEE CPEng MIEAust MHKCS SeniorMIIE
 11 December 2007 10:30 PM
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ccparish

Posts: 19
Joined: 06 December 2007

In Germany to be an Engineer is like being a doctor in the UK. It is something to be very proud of and kids aspire to achieve this title because it means something very special. In the UK it seems that Engineers need to bang the table to be noticed amongst the grease monkeys. Perhaps this is why we don't have much in the way of an engineering base any more. Strange, when you consider how good we are at some things (such as the IET) and the excellence of our Electrical standards compared to theirs!
 13 February 2008 10:30 AM
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davidtennyson

Posts: 22
Joined: 20 November 2006

Wow, it seems like there are too many chips on too many shoulders here. Engineers started engineering before degrees were invented. Studying a degree is merely learning someone elses past work and, as i'm finding out, this is a task in itself. So, congratulations if you have a degree and keep trying if you havent, but doesnt the engineering start once on the job?
 13 February 2008 05:42 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Yes it certainly does. The problem is that the job may be applying your PhD and 20 years experience to designing a hyperspace timeshift drive or may be applying your single GCSE grade F and three weeks experience to delivering a washing machine. In the UK at least both are "engineering".

Like it or not, in Western cultures at least people are placed in society by the answer to that first question on meeting: "so, what do you do?" If you answer "I'm an engineer" there is a very good chance that your questioner will put you nearer the deliveryman than the timeshift drive designer. How much this bothers you just depends how much you care what others think of you!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 14 February 2008 05:37 AM
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basil.wallace

Posts: 219
Joined: 01 April 2006

Originally posted by: mbirdi

However if you asked a Chartered Engineer if they were an Engineer, it is most likely they would say yes, because they have a affection for the title of Engineer.

In the context of the IET and ECUK, the title of Engineer has to be treated as trash otherwise the profession is effectively accepting any old cowboys who call themselves Engineers as being of the same level as CEng and IEng.

So I believe that anyone with or without a degree can call themselves an Engineer because the title on its own is trash. I know that some registered members will find that painful to hear.

By the way Both the MSc and Eur Ing are Engineers. Except that one's academically qualified yet adopting the trash title of Engineer and the other is the real Professional Engineer.

Finally, how do you suppose the IET can award the title of 'Young Engineer of the year' to a school kid, given that they couldn't have obtained a degree let alone gained experience to be registered as CEng or IEng?


Mehmood's comment is a sound argument which i totally agree with. Something that both the IET/ECUK/ETB should be promoting in terms of differences between the trash title of 'Engineer' for those who are academically qualified and the real title of professional engineer; i.e. CEng/IEng.

The same argument could equally be applied between the trash title of 'technician' for those who are academically qualified and the real title of professional engineering technician; i.e. EngTech

In this way, the engineering profession can be better promoted to all employers (including those engineering employers) and all recruitment agencies (including those recruitment agencies run by real engineers).

Al this can be achieved through the media; i.e. TV adverts and radio adverts, through the internet, through other means of advertising and by the use of email as one clear powerful message.

This would really sort out the wheat from the chaff!

--------------------------------
Basil Wallace PgDip EngTech MIET
 14 February 2008 09:51 AM
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davidtennyson

Posts: 22
Joined: 20 November 2006

Ok, it would seem that the real problem lies with the term "engineer" itself.

An engineer is someone who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.[1] Engineers use technology, mathematics, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. People who work as engineers typically have an academic degree (or equivalent work experience) in one of the engineering disciplines.

The above definition appears to have a wide scope and would include a wide variety of trades as well as an "engineer" who has formally gained a degree or learned through practical experience.

Couldnt the problem be solved by engineers who have a certain proffesional attainment stating that they are a "chartered engineer" for example, instead of just emplying that they are an "engineer"? Or you could go one further and start adressing yourself with your letters after your name, as is your right.
Surely this is not such a difficult problem to solve if you really are so wound up about it?
IET » Savoy Place Virtual Club » Misuse of term 'ENGINEER'

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