Lately I have been thinking about some of the interesting terminology that IT professionals have in their job titles. I have been wondering if professionals in other non-IT career fields get pissed off at those of us in IT for stealing their job titles. While I haven’t ever been confronted about this myself, about a year ago my brother-in-law was joking with me that he couldn’t compete in Engineering Deathmatch, despite being an engineer.
And that’s what really got me thinking about it. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers there is a certification process that one must go through in order to call themselves an engineer that involves licensing boards, certifications tests and more. By contrast, in my first “Systems Engineer” role, I had a degree…in marketing. I have to imagine that there are some professional engineers (how I will distinguish non-IT engineers) out there that may get pissed off when they hear and IT person say that they too are an engineer.
I don’t want to just pick on the term engineer, IT has many instances of, let’s say, borrowing titles from other professions. For instance: architects, developers, designers, Cisco even has an associate level certification, which I guess could pull from legal maybe? I’m sure that I could go on if I thought harder and I encourage you to note any that I have missed in the comments.
Ok, so why the heck am I writing about this now if all my thought processes were kicked off over a year ago. Some might just be content with the explanation that I’m slow, but honestly this hit home very recently. As some of you may know, I am the creator and host of Engineering Deathmatch, an online web TV show that pits IT engineers and their configuration abilities against each other. At the end of the year I filed for Engineering Deathmatch, LLC to be a real company. A couple of weeks after finalizing the paperwork for the company, I received a package in the mail from the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Apparently there is a law in TX that was put on the books in 1937 that states that if you have Engineer or Engineering (regardless of the fact that it is followed by the word “Deathmatch” ) in the name of your company then you must have certified professional engineers on staff or performing the work that your company does. As Engineering Deathmatch performs no structural, mechanical, electrical, or any other sort of non-IT engineering we don’t have anyone like that on staff. As a result, I’m going to have to change the registered name of the company. You will continue to see Engineering Deathmatch as our show name and domain name.
I guess that’s why I have never really received that much grief from professional engineers. We can take their titles alls day long, but they are still the ones protected by nearly 100-year old laws.