What Is Software Engineer

Vull

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I got a Liberal "Arts" degree in Computer "Science" after flunking out of "Engineering." xD
 

vigole

Daemon

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I don't know about "Software" part, but here's my comment on the word "Engineering" itself:

* "Engineer" in Proto-Indo-European language (Latin: ingenium) comes from "War machine", engine and device.
My opinion: that sounds like electrical and electronics aka computer engineering.

* "Engineer" translation in Semitic languages (i.e. 4-part root: H.N.D.S. e.g. Ha N Da Sá) means "Geometry".
My opinion: that sounds like algorithm and mathematics.

Reference:

I don't have any reference for the second part (Geometry) -- I recalled that off the top of my head. There was some stuff on Wiktionary.org, but I'm not sure about accuracy of the Wiktionary.
 

fcorbelli

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Historically the ingegneri was a part of the Roman army to build siege weapons, bridges over river and so on (in UK Royal Engineers now).
The Romans build things that lasts until now in half Europe

After the army the ingegneri civili (as today) to make buildings, dams, machines, planes, transistors etc.

Ingegno means something like smartness.
Lateral thinking.
You are ingegnoso=you solve hard problems inventing new solutions.

In this semantic the word is fine: software engineer solve hard problems, sometimes newer seen before, by smartness, inventing new tools or whatever.

Ok, but now (in Italy) the inflation.
Everything is now ingegneria, gestionale (economica), medica (medicine), even ingegneria matematica (maths).

Why? Because ingegnere is synomim for Jedi (in Italy at least)
 

Trihexagonal

Son of Beastie

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Hello, I'd like to file an application. I'm a Behavioral Engineer. Yes, Mam. Behavior Management and Behavior Modification:

"Behavioral engineering, also called applied behavior analysis, is intended to identify issues associated with the interface of technology and the human operators in a system and to generate recommended design practices that consider the strengths and limitations of the human operators.
"The behavior of the individual has been shaped according to revelations of 'good conduct' never as the result of experimental study."
— B.F Skinner, "Walden Two"
Watson wrote in 1924 "Behaviorism ... holds that the subject matter of human psychology is the behavior of the human being. Behaviorism claims that consciousness is neither a definite nor a usable concept."[1]
This approach is often used in organizational behavior management, which is behavior analysis applied to organizations and behavioral community psychology.
*snip*
In the school system behavioral engineering has inspired two programs of behavior management based on the principles of applied behavior analysis in a social learning format."

Yes, Mam. Social Engineering as well.
Yes, Mam:

Psycho Psychologist:
Manipulative Bastard:
Morally Ambiguous Doctorate.

Yes, Mam. Dr. Trihexagonal MAD
 

fcorbelli

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PS in Italy every 'arts' degree (in the job world) is equal to about nothing, with one exception (conservatorio= maybe the highest music degree in the world, opera, direttori orchestra and so on. 10 years for piano (!)).

Otherwise every arts degree get no reputation at all.
A welder is much more (in Italy) regarded
 

Vull

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PS in Italy every 'arts' degree (in the job world) is equal to about nothing, with one exception (conservatorio= maybe the highest music degree in the world, opera, direttori orchestra and so on. 10 years for piano (!)).

Otherwise every arts degree get no reputation at all.
A welder is much more (in Italy) regarded
Yes it seems pretty much the same here in the "heartland of America," and even moreso now, long after I graduated in the mid '80s. Programmers were still in hot demand way back then in the before time. I was able to get software jobs long before I went to college; I didn't go to college to get a job, I went there to learn, which I did. We wrote Pascal programs on "coding sheets" (which is why I had to laugh). This was so we would get everything in the right columns when we typed our programs onto IBM punchcards and ran them through the card readers on the big IBM M.U.S.I.C. system mainframe computer. We did have one of the first UNIX systems on a PDP-11, and I got to touch it once or twice, but it was pretty precious and undergrads mostly had to work on the (M)ulti-(U)ser (S)ystem for (I)nteractive (C)omputing. Times have changed hah
 

covacat

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We wrote Pascal programs on "coding sheets" (which is why I had to laugh). This was so we would get everything in the right columns when we typed our programs onto IBM punchcards and ran them through the card readers on the big IBM
you didn't need the coding sheets if you typed/punched the program yourself
coding sheets were needed if the ladies in the ?card punching office? did it
they couldn't tell JCL from the program itself :)
 

Vull

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you didn't need the coding sheets if you typed/punched the program yourself
coding sheets were needed if the ladies in the ?card punching office? did it
they couldn't tell JCL from the program itself :)
Didn't have any ladies to do it for us, we were just undergrads, the lowest life-form on campus. Getting things in the right columns was really more important for assembly language than Pascal. Pascal was the first structured programming language I ever had the pleasure of using. Structured languages, relational databases, and virtual machines were all bleeding-edge concepts at the time, and what I went there to learn. There was no WWW for the masses, and there was a limit on what you could learn reading TRS-80 manuals written by Microsoft.
 

covacat

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well i was in highschool back then and we punched the programs ourselves too
we were shown the programming sheets but we did not use it
but in the city's "Center of Computing" there was a "card punching room" and the programmers didn't have to punch themselves
1622711631767.png

we had the right side model (juki / japan) and some commie versions (east germany and czech republic made)
the better ones (cz made) had a one line buffer and digital display for the current column (also a dot matrix printer that printed the card content on the top line)
we were not allowed to use the "better" ones with some exceptions

image source https://www.technikum29.de/en/computer/punchcard
 
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bobmc

bobmc

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we punched the programs ourselves
I used punch cards for assembler code while learning to fix PDP-11 minicomputers. Computers in those days was in 19inch racks. It was tangible engineer stuff.
Later, I was a gypsy in the U.S. moving between NORAD sites to install computers and displays for military aircraft control. I only have one photo from Florida 1982 of the control room with reel-to-reel tapes and a mainframe programmed in Jovial. The system was booted from punch-cards. The controller displays (made in Canada) were in an adjacent room. It resembled the control rooms seen in NASA photos.

I was an electronic technologist then but predicting it was a dead end job, I went to university to major in software which was more to my liking.
 

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BostonBSD

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There's also something called systems engineer as a subfaction of computer engineering {software, hardware, telecommunications/networking}.

The word engineering, as I recall, means applied science. The computer scientist arrives at innovations involving computational methods, typically in regard toward programming, although not necessarily. The computer engineer applies these preformed methods to a project in order to accomplish some sort of task.

The computer programmer does the same sort of tasks a software engineer might, however, the title itself implies a lower entry level skill set {probably simpler less imperative projects}.

There is much overlap between computer engineering and electrical engineering, infact some disciplines which are now called computer engineering were called electrical engineering 20 years ago {telecommunication/networking and hardware engineering}.

Systems engineers are a special type of engineer usually found at very large organizations. They assist with systems design, pulling together hardware, software, and possibly communications protocols into one coherent project. These are also typically the people who are the engineering representative on the help line when no one else can figure out what is wrong {they retitle themselves sales engineer after moving into the business side}.

* As you may have guessed, most comp sci graduates take on positions as software engineers rather than actual research scientists.

** Industrial Engineers can also be called Systems Engineers, these are more general engineering disciplines which transcend industries (think optimization; deterministic, probabilistic, etc). They frequently show up in medical industries; perhaps optimizing the ability to find an antidote for a pathogen with some sort of apparatus.

*** In the United States the word "engineer" is not a protected title as would be "medical doctor" or "lawyer." As such one does not require a license in order to call themself "engineer." There is a professional engineering license, which may be required for specific contracts, such as those issued by governments, however, the title itself is not a protected term.
 

Phishfry

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BostonBSD

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The computer is reducing its physical footprint, so this guy made the assumption that if it's the same size as a microcontroller it must be the same thing.

Someday there will probably be micro controllers the size of a penny. One could also assume many applications don't require abstract frameworks, allowing embedded control systems to run with much lower power consumption (they'll always be more power efficient than SBC). A SBC running NetBSD can operate a toaster, however, a microcontroller will always use less power and be easier to debug/manufacture even considering scaling (using fewer cycles to accomplish a task will always be cheaper than more).

They might start inserting SBC into large projects, they already do, but I don't see microcontrollers going away in favor of them. Microcontrollers are so simple and cheap.

A microcontroller costs perhaps a 2 or 3 cents and once it's flashed it just keeps running forever, like your own personal solid state device. An SBC might cost 20-50 dollars, it gives similar functionality, but is far more complex, much more difficult to debug. Even if the software and hardware were tuned to perfection, the microcontroller still uses less power with fewer logic gates. They may start putting things like java virtual machines into embedded control, this is just a gradient between microcontroller and SBC.

They used to think that Java would replace C, although that never happened, C is more efficient (faster processors meant faster C programs, which wasnt really what the java developers were expecting...the public willing to trade efficiency for ease of use as processors increased clock rates).
 

astyle

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An Embedded Computer Engineer could be found on the floorboard of a vehicle.
Soon to be extinct??? what about IoT? those are the same guys that make your smart toaster curse at you in Korean (Here's looking at you, Samsung) for trying to use it to cook some pho noodles instead of airfrying some bamboo with ginger;)

Let's not forget Beaglebone, for which FreeBSD actually has images for download.
 

BostonBSD

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It does seem plausible that the IDE for development of embedded control will abstract away the lower level hardware from the developer. All the developer may be aware of is that they're dropping a binary into microcontroller memory. The compiler handling everything for them.

.....that actually sounds pretty neat. Sort of like Arduino with a Perl like attitude.
 

BostonBSD

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These days, you can actually run Mathematica on Raspberry Pi. SSH in, do your thing, show it all on a 65-inch TV...
There's a humongous degree of opportunity associated with SBCs such as the RPI and Beaglebone, however, the ability to run a singular binary on a microcontroller, such as the Arduino, is so useful, cheap, efficient, and simple.

I don't see SBCs eliminating microcontrollers, I see them filling a void for multifunctional control systems. Why use a jackhammer to push in a thumbtack?

SBCs are thousands of times more expensive, more complex, and less efficient.

===========
Imagine an ultra powerful supercomputer microcontroller, which only computes trajectories for spacecraft or synthesis of antidotes for pathogens.

A full fledged computer with an operating system has much greater complexity exposing the results to error. A microcontroller has much less complexity, it only runs a singular binary.

===========

I definitely see a future where SBCs interact with microcontrollers, perhaps coordinating the singular function of each microcontroller into a more cohesive system.

The simplicity, precision, and efficiency of the microcontroller complementing the multifunctional ability of the SBC {livestock feed and waste removal microcontrollers passing data to an SBC, for example. The SBC passing attenuation signals to the microcontrollers.}.
 

Phishfry

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An Embedded Computer Engineer could be found on the floorboard of a vehicle.
The reason I wrote this is I replied to an job listing for "Embedded Computer Engineer" and it turned out the job was installing embedded PC into fleet vehicles.
So crawling around on the floorboard running wires.

Not the sexy sounding job description but more like a aftermarket car radio installer.
3 bay shop not much different than Jiffy Lube.
 

BostonBSD

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The reason I wrote this is I replied to an job listing for "Embedded Computer Engineer" and it turned out the job was installing embedded PC into fleet vehicles.
So crawling around on the floorboard running wires.

Not the sexy sounding job description but more like a aftermarket car radio installer.
3 bay shop not much different than Jiffy Lube.
Maybe I need a doctorate in mechanical engineering to fix the kitchen table now?
 

kpedersen

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BostonBSD

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Perhaps a good idea just to be safe. You certainly don't want to be fined for "unlicensed engineering"!

This story was quite amusing and almost set a dangerous precident for engineers:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that...ther-yellow-traffic-lights-should-last-longer

Just checked my wallet, I don't have an engineering license either! :)
I think they were a bit harsh fining him for calling himself an engineer. This is a state issue, not a federal issue, but the last I checked that word is not protected the same as "medical doctor" or "lawyer," in most if not every state.

Presenting yourself as a professional engineer licensed to perform engineering work directly to the public is a different story. There are contracts which require a professional engineering license, such as for public works projects, government contracts, etc. Which is probably what they were referring to by fining him, this sounds like a public works project. However, it doesn't sound like he was under any specific contractual agreement requiring a PE license.

The federal court was right to rule in his favor.

Engineers who require PE licenses are usually found in civil, mechanical, and environmental engineering disciplines. Electrical engineers who perform macro-electrical design {electrical systems for buildings, etc}, also usually require a PE license. However, it is relatively uncommon for computer engineers and others who perform work implementing microelectrical design for large corporations to require a PE license {the employer might be under some obligation to have so many licensed engineers relative to the whole...if it were a government contractor though}.
 

BostonBSD

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This story was quite amusing and almost set a dangerous precident for engineers:

https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that...ther-yellow-traffic-lights-should-last-longer
I found this story kind of amusing for a different reason. When I was in school they used to use the analogy of a traffic light control system to something that is too simple.

They wanted us to implement functionality to an FPGA 8088 processor, but they didn't want to see any "traffic light control systems." So instead we implemented customized floating point arithmetic in micro-code.
 
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bobmc

bobmc

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Someday there will probably be micro controllers the size of a penny.
The Wifi chip on an 8266 assembly is tiny enough. They come in various packages and are probably found in coffee machines and other devices controlled by WiFi. But the WiFi is enabled by default so it is probably back door for hackers to enter related computer systems. There are lots of capable micros without wireless and IMO they should be preferred for computer sensors.

(The ESP8266 WiFi Module is a self contained SOC with integrated TCP/IP protocol stack that can give any microcontroller access to your WiFi network.)
 
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