Standards of professions in society

Professionals have all different special obligations, and they all have to be registered. However, they are and have been known at different levels. Some are considered to be higher than others, regarding the results of their works or regarding the salaries earned. For example people believe that engineers should not be licensed just because they are not doctoring or lawyering.  Sometimes people think that engineering and Medicine have no defined differences because  lot of Engineers are Doctors, and some students in some parts of engineering majors end up trying to get into Medical school, maybe because that’s the very highly well payed and honored career. However, even though people think that Medicine and Lawyer are higher than Engineering, some engineers find their career higher than any other career and find it helpful if they are not registered. Their reasons may be related to the fact that they don’t have to defend what they do like Doctors and lawyers, because their works talk for themselves.

Back in history Engineering was not regarded as a profession like medicine or law just because Law was a respected profession for the upper classes, and Medicine, because it involved a lot of learning and only the rich could afford then it became a profession. Later on, people believed that engineering societies were not powerful as the AMA (American Medical Association) and the ABA (American Bar Association). Even though the society used to hold medicine and law on a higher pedestal than engineering, some people has proven the opposite. For example the 31st US President,  Herbert Clark Hoover explained how Engineering  got  a very higher level than any other profession. He said: “The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers…. He cannot, like the politician, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope that the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny that he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned forever.” Herbert Hoover, http://izquotes.com/quote/283757

One Response to Standards of professions in society

  1. Hoover’s statement was definitely true back in his time. Now, although it is still mostly true, we have better, more scientific ways to hold doctors accountable for their actions. I’m not sure how often a doctor can “bury his mistakes in the grave” anymore. As for lawyers and politicians, their work is hard to be held accountable because it is subjective by nature, so Hoover’s statement definitely still applies there. I definitely agree that engineers can be easily held accountable for their work.

    As discussed in classed, most engineering fields can definitely be considered as professions along with medicine and law. Mechanical, biomedical, chemical, aerospace, electrical, etc. engineers all require a formal education and meet all the criteria for a profession. However, computer science does not necessarily require a formal education. I think this is mostly because all the other majors require expensive hardware, labs, professors, and machinery to complete their education, but learning computer science is available to anyone with a computer. IDE’s such as eclipse are free, so it is very possible gain experience in computer science/programming without education at a formal University. The bottom line here is that everyone has a PC, but not everyone has access to complex machinery, 3D printers or aircraft engines, chemical/biomedical laboratories, or expensive electrical equipment. Perhaps this is a reason why computer science/IT jobs are outsourced to countries with less resources more often than the jobs in other engineering professions.

    So to answer your questions, most of the other engineering fields besides computer science are considered to be professions just like law or medicine because the resources required to learn these engineering fields require a formal education – just like how law or medicine requires formal education through expensive training and professors. Computer science/programming may be considered an exception because there is no formal education barrier to learn it.