The professional engineers' association in Canada is dismayed that Microsoft Certified System Engineers (MCSEs) are calling themselves "engineers". Microsoft agreed to discourage the use of the term among MCSEs last year, but changed its mind in the summer.
The decision has angered the CCPE (Canadian Council of Professional Engineers), which is rallying holders of a P.Eng qualification to rally against the bogus boffins. In Canada only licensed professionals can call themselves engineers, who must be P.Engs, a trade qualification administered by the regional territories. Non-P.Engs attempting to pass themselves off as engineers have even been fined.
Marie Lemay, chief executive of the Canadian engineers' association the CCPE (Canadian Council of Professional Engineers) wrote recently that "the term 'engineer' does carry significant value, or weight, because engineers and the engineering profession have gained a reputation for technical excellence."
Implying that MCSEs don't.
"Unless we make the public aware of the meaning and significance of the P.Eng. and what it means to call yourself an engineer, there will always be confusion that pushes people like MCSE certificate holders to take advantage of our status as engineers and, more importantly, inadvertently put the Canadian public at risk."
Indeed. There's nothing more sickening than hearing someone attempt to push their way to the center of a public crowd with the cry, "Let me through, I'm an engineer!" only to discover that their skills amount only to a meager knowledge of Visual Basic.
"We must take ownership of who and what we are, and we need every engineer in Canada to get on side," urges Lemay.
According to the P.Eng website, a P.Eng is a "global brand". In addition to an engineering degree, a prospective P.Eng must complete two to four years of internship under the tutelage of an older P.Eng.
P.Engs must ensure that they:-
- Are legally and ethically responsible for your work, and hold public safety paramount
- Maintain the highest levels of competence, as judged by your peers
- Continually upgrade your knowledge
- Adhere to a strict code of ethics
" Most other places you can buy yourself a set of spanners and an oily rag and call yourself an engineer," writes one participant to the discussion here.
Perhaps in deference to local sensitivities, Microsoft can use the less charged description "Thingy" (MCST) until a compromise is reached.
Thingies and real engineers are welcome to comment. ®