Thoughts on the Engineering Industry

A blog covering engineering, technology and business topics

Engineer or Designer or something else: How can we best clarify these job titles?

Hello everyone, I hope y’all are doing well. Sorry about the delay in getting this blog post out.  I was on a road trip this previous weekend to visit Texas A&M and go to an Aggie for the first time since I graduated.  It was fun but I’ve been slow to get back to work.  Today, I want to discuss concerns that a recent article I read brought in regards to the over usage of the terms related to engineer and designer.

Here is a link to the article: http://goo.gl/lXnfLP.

The article opens with an interesting question: Is the job title of “engineer” over used?  For example, the article opens with a quote from a race car engineer who complains that people will then ask him if that means he is a race car mechanic.  I get the same type of thing when I say that I am a civil engineer – people will then ask if I build houses.  The article also mentions that example.  This brings up an interesting line of thought.  How should we clarify the difference?  Because this confusion, while seemingly semantic, should be fixable.  The article recommends creating a new title for our position of engineering.  However, I don’t think that’s needed – we have terms to indicate different levels of expertise.  The article also highlights the confusion with relation to designer as well by providing the example of a hair stylist, hair designer, and hair engineer being the same position.  While quite humorous, I think designer actually fits in regards to that.  To me, a designer has knowledge and skills that allows him to make an overall decision on a process.  However, a designer does not go through and run the technical studies himself – especially on hair styling.

It is my opinion that the issue is not that the term engineer and designer is used – it is that it needs to be used more accurately.  And the distinction needs to be made carefully – for example, a designer may have and use the technical skills of an engineering skill set, but if he’s not actively applying it in the position it would be misleading.  However, if the position involves using the technical skills on a regular basis, even if there is a lot of management or oversight involved, putting engineer in the title would be accurate.  That and I also think that job position marketers need to not be afraid of putting builder or construction worker in a job title.  I know plenty of people who have those blue collar jobs and are probably smarter in that field of practice than I could ever hope to be.

What are your opinions on the job titles of designer and engineer?  How do you think we could best fix the issues in regards to the confusion with the job titles?  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

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