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I never really liked the title software engineer. I didn't think of myself as an engineer. I certainly hadn't had any training as an engineer.

Some dictionary definitions -

mechanic
A worker skilled in making, using, or repairing machines and tools.
engineer
A person trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.
engineering
The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, construction, and operation of efficent and economical structures, equipment, and systems.

While I certainly try to make efficent and economical structures, I don't think a very many scientific and mathematical principles go into it. On the other hand, I am definitely skilled in making, using, and repairing these 'machines' we call software. So I think software mechanic is a better description.

I guess calling myself a software mechanic might be considered a bit precious, but software engineer strikes me as a bit pretentious, and most of the time I still refer to myself as a programmer, or I say "I do software development". I don't squawk too much if whatever company I work for decides to call me a software engineer. They can cling to whatever illusions they want.


Last Updated: 2003-04-15