Rik's Ramblings

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Recruiting Engineers

This would be my first question to anyone I was recruiting for an engineering job:

    When did you first realize you were an engineer?

Judging by the number of disinterested people working in engineering these days, I have to assume that really they're not engineers, they're people who assume engineering is like flipping burgers, but better paid.

Engineering should be a passion. It's creating something. You should be launching something into existence that has a life of it's own, something that interacts with other humans and that they have an opinion about. Therefore it is an extension of you and you are forced to be proud of it, or ashamed of it if you were unsuccessful in creating something that delights.

In my opinion, if you're happy to unleash a product (piece of software, vehicle, bridge) when you never really gave a f^%# about how crap it was, then stop calling yourself an engineer. Go get a job an McDonalds.

In a way, it's a problem that engineers (hardware and software) in the US are relatively well paid. It attracts the wrong people. In Britain only ENGINEERS consider becoming engineers because, (a) the pay's crap compared to accountants, doctors and plumbers and (b) the term engineer is synonymous with Train Spotter, hence, chicks don't dig engineers. Ergo, no dosh, no kudos, no skirt. Only the commited take up engineering in Britain!

So, if I were recruiting a software subordinate, I would ask the question:

    When did you first realize you were an engineer?

More over, I'd only accept answers in Morse Code or UTF-8 - encoded as DTMF squeeks of course! Naturally I'm looking for an answer that doesn't resemble

    well I did this degree right. I didn't know whether I wanted to go into journalism, life sciences or software engineering...


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