Interesting article in The Atlantic about how software engineers aren’t really engineers. I wholly agree. I would consider myself a developer yes, but engineer no. I would say in my 15 plus years in this “industry” the QA side alone would disqualify software, web development or app development from being considered a piece of engineering.
The term is probably a shortening of “software engineer,” but its use betrays a secret: “Engineer” is an aspirational title in software development. Traditional engineers are regulated, certified, and subject to apprenticeship and continuing education. Engineering claims an explicit responsibility to public safety and reliability, even if it doesn’t always deliver.
The internet has made things even more murky with the constant cycle of the “software update” (really the lets rush this shit out the door and fix it later update). Another choice tidbit:
Meanwhile, start-up culture is changing engineering education anyway. Entrepreneurship is exalted. Accelerators and incubators abound. Not all students in computer-science programs think they’ll become startup billionaires… But not all of them don’t think so, either. Would-be “engineers” are encouraged to think of every project as a potential business ready to scale and sell, rather than as a process of long-term training in disciplines where concerns for social welfare become paramount. Engineering has always been a well-paid profession, but computing is turning it into a type of speculative finance rather than a calling.