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HadesThunder 09-07-2004 06:53 PM

Engineer / Techie ?
 
I probably seem really stupid asking this. But what is the difference between a engineer and a technician?
I have been doing temp contracts for over a year now and still do not know the answer. Someone suggested that the two are the same thing. Someone else suggested that techies work with software aswell as hardware, which I think is crap. I also heard that engineers install hardware while techies troubleshoot it.
Is there an actual difference between the roles? I know MCSA and MCSE aswell as CCNA make someone qualified as an engineer, but what qualifies a technician?
In other words what is the difference between an Engineer and a Technician. I have asked the question a dozen times in my life and neither me or anyone else seems to know.

trickykid 09-07-2004 07:04 PM

I think the dictionary terms describe them well:

Code:

en·gi·neer

  1. One who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.
  2. One who operates an engine.
  3. One who skillfully or shrewdly manages an enterprise.


en·gi·neered, en·gi·neer·ing, en·gi·neers

  1. To plan, construct, or manage as an engineer.
  2. To alter or produce by methods of genetic engineering:
      “Researchers... compared insulin  manufactured by bacteria genetically engineered with     
      recombinant DNA techniques to the commercial insulin obtained from swine or cattle” (Fusion).
  3. To plan, manage, and put through by skillful acts or contrivance; maneuver.


tech·ni·cian

An expert in a technique, as:

      1. One whose occupation requires training in a specific technical process:
          an electronics technician; an automotive technician.
      2. One who is known for skill in an intellectual or artistic technique.
      3. One whose occupation requires training in a specific technical process.
          Also called technologist.


win32sux 09-07-2004 07:06 PM

a technitian is an expert using tools...

an engineer is an expert MAKING tools...

HadesThunder 09-08-2004 02:41 AM

In break/fix everyone is called an Engineer, but nobody makes anything. I certainly could not make a new CPU at home or in the field, unless I have a hundred years to do it.

IBall 09-08-2004 05:20 AM

I hear people talking about "Sanitation Engineers" (Cleaners, Garbage Collectors, etc), "Sales Engineers" (Sales Men) among others.

Is this only in Australia, or is it imported from elsewhere. I just think it is amusing, as I am a third year Computer Engineering Student :)

--Ian

trickykid 09-08-2004 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by HadesThunder
In break/fix everyone is called an Engineer, but nobody makes anything. I certainly could not make a new CPU at home or in the field, unless I have a hundred years to do it.
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs both made the first Apple computer in their garage, didn't take them 100 years.. ;)

But to be an engineer like the definition says doesn't mean it has to be high tech, designing microchips and such.

Oxyacetylene 09-08-2004 10:19 AM

The terms seem to be pretty much interchangeable and fuzzy at best. Typical IT people serve so many roles and "wear so many different hats" that one term doesn't seem to be better than the other. My job title is Technical Specialist. I personally like the sound of "Engineer" better than "Technician" but it doesn't matter much. All the confusion makes it harder to classify yourself or what you are looking for when doing a job search....

HadesThunder 09-08-2004 05:48 PM

In the main contract I am doing now, I am a field service engineer. In the weekend project I also have the same position. Everytime a team of engineers mess up, they always get a technician to sort out the problem. I guess buidling chip+pin tills is engineering and fixing them is techie work. Makes sense.
In England we don't call rubbish men engineers and we do not call sales men engineers. I thought america was bad for political correctness, surprised that a land where indigenous population are made to live in poverty, would stand up so much for human rights that it will spin words to make toilet cleaners be called engineers, while the Australian natives live in poverty with no freedom.

trickykid 09-08-2004 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by HadesThunder
In the main contract I am doing now, I am a field service engineer. In the weekend project I also have the same position. Everytime a team of engineers mess up, they always get a technician to sort out the problem. I guess buidling chip+pin tills is engineering and fixing them is techie work. Makes sense.
In England we don't call rubbish men engineers and we do not call sales men engineers. I thought america was bad for political correctness, surprised that a land where indigenous population are made to live in poverty, would stand up so much for human rights that it will spin words to make toilet cleaners be called engineers, while the Australian natives live in poverty with no freedom.

Are you just here to start flame wars? How did this go from asking what the difference between an engineer and technician are to what you just posted?

You've been warned way too many times and are falling over the edge now by some dental floss string.. I'd have to tell you know to watch what your getting into or your going to lose privileges to this site.

If you want to discuss this any further, email me, another mod or Jeremy the site admin. Do not let this turn into the discussion you apparently want to turn it into or it will be closed and you will strike out. You have no more warnings left, I'm making this your last one.

Regards.

win32sux 09-08-2004 08:40 PM

i'd like to add a sub-topic to the discussion...

the sub-topic is "certified engineers"... differences between engineers and certified engineers...

doesn't someone need to have a college/university degree in engineering to be an engineer?? i think that applies to any field (not just IT), right?? or is IT an exception??

the certification would then be an "extra" that the engineer can obtain...

but i see lots of people that don't have a college degree, they only have a certification and they write themselves down as engineers on their resumes, or they refer to themselves as engineers when they talk to people, etc...

does anybody else feel this is a little weird??

i mean, i've seen pure-bred MCSEs, and they are really at the technical level, not at the engineering level... MCSE means you can do windows system/network administration, yet for some reason the title is pumped-up to "engineer" status somehow (marketing reasons?)...

of course, an MCSE could have a college degree also, in which case his engineering status doesn't depend on on the certification, which seems more normal...

on the other hand, it seems that this doesn't appy to IT technitians... i mean, i don't think you need to have a college degree to be a technitian, right?? please correct me if i'm wrong, actually, please take the tone of my entire post as more of a question than a statement... i think that MCSE would be a decent certification for a windoze technitian...

as for linux and unix, it seems certifications are more down-to-earth... they more clearly separate the certified technitians from the adminsitrators and the engineers, i think...

also, the IT field is way different from the others.. i mean, to be a even a (non-IT) technitian at a fortune 500 (for example) company you'd probably need some kinda degree... like, you wouldn't be able to be an aircraft landing-gear technitian without some kinda degree, right?? you don't get the job because you googled for two years about aircraft landing gear and then paid 300 bucks for a test...

another sub-topic to this one is liability and accountability and stuff... like, how you NEED to be a doctor to see patients, yet you don't NEED to be an engineer to see computers, etc...

this is indeed an interesting, blurry topic... comments anyone??


nuka_t 09-08-2004 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by trickykid
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs both made the first Apple computer in their garage, didn't take them 100 years.. ;)

But to be an engineer like the definition says doesn't mean it has to be high tech, designing microchips and such.

i can make a computer in half an hour, but i cant make every individual part myself.

win32sux 09-08-2004 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by nuka_t
i can make a computer in half an hour, but i cant make every individual part myself.
a technitian can put together a pc, but an engineer can design the pc's components...


R00ts 09-08-2004 09:03 PM

In the US at least, it is illegal to use the word "engineer" in your job title unless you are a professionaly certified engineer. (Much the same way that a doctor or lawyer must be certified before they can practice). Engineers are responsible for building computer systems, building bridges, airplanes, electronic devices, chemical compounds, and anything else you could think of, so imagine what would happen if a punk out of high school who took a physics course decided to start calling himself an engineer? Faulty products would start injuring or even killing people left and right.

To become a certified professional engineer, you first must obtain a Bachelor's of Science in an engineering field. Next you must take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam (formerly called the Engineer in Training Exam, or EIT). The test is 8 hours long and divided into two parts. The first part is a general engineering exam and covers topics in physics, chemistry, mathematics, statics, dynamics, hydromechanics, themrodynamics, electronic circuits, computer systems, civil engineering, engineering economics, and engineering ethics (I might have forgotten one or two subjects). For the second part of the exam you may choose to either take an exam specific to your major (like electrical engineering), or take another more advanced general exam.

The third requirement is that you spend 4 years working in the industry practicing engineering (but I believe you must be supervised by a professional engineer, and you can't put the word engineer in your title yet either). After that you take the Professional Engineering (PE) Exam and if you pass that, you are finally granted your Professional Engineer's license.


Well I hope you can see a little bit of a "real-world" example of how an engineer is much, much different from a technician. I have completed the first two steps to getting a PE (bachelors + passed the FE exam in April.....god that was such a long exam). Personally, if anyone called me a technician or someone called themselves an "engineer" when they aren't even close to being one (Sales, Marketing, PR people), I would be pretty upset. I take pride in being an engineer (oops, well not yet but soon :D) and I take pride in what engineers do for the people of the world. I don't think we are respected enough in fact, and those morons in the government should bow down and submit. Engineers should rule the world! :cool: (yes I'm being somewhat sarcastic)

Stack 09-08-2004 10:34 PM

Calling yourself an Engineer when you don't have the 4 year diploma from a university is insulting to everyone who is a real engineer. A lot of sweat and blood goes into getting the diploma and when you see idiots with 5 or 6 certs calling themselves computer engineers it makes your blood boil.

Quote:

I certainly could not make a new CPU at home or in the field, unless I have a hundred years to do it.
Most engineers with a background in electrical engineering or computer engineering could easily design a simple processor in a day or perhaps two.

Now to quote a famous engineer "Engineers create that which did not exist"

amosf 09-08-2004 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by HadesThunder

In England we don't call rubbish men engineers and we do not call sales men engineers. I thought america was bad for political correctness, surprised that a land where indigenous population are made to live in poverty, would stand up so much for human rights that it will spin words to make toilet cleaners be called engineers, while the Australian natives live in poverty with no freedom.

Dude, what the heck is this supposed to be??? I live in australia and I think you need to catch up on the facts and history before spurting off rot like this trolling here! I have put your handle on my avoid list, thanks.

Chill out.


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