Re: Certification: opposing views

Subject: Re: Certification: opposing views
From: Win Day <winday -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 09:13:13 -0500

At 03:37 PM 3/21/96 -0600, Arlen Walker wrote about the possibility of
certification processes passing "duds". Here's my $0.027 CDN (worth about
$0.02 US):

One of the certification processes I've heard trumpeted as a model to follow
is that for professional engineers. Well, as an engineer who never bothered
to become a PE, let me tell you in NO uncertain terms that attaining a PE
license does NOT guarantee the making of a good engineer, let alone a great one.

I've worked with many, many PEs who were masters at passing the PE exams,
which tend to be long, involved, cookbook-engineering tests. These same
engineers could not make the leap of intellect required to apply something
they alrready knew to a different situation. They were fine as long as they
were working on projects for well-established industries, projects that
required no creativity whatsoever. But they were lousy at adapting models
and information to new processes. They also made lousy mentors and supervisors.

I never worked anywhere where not being a PE made a bit of difference in how
I was treated, the projects I worked on, or the responsibilities I was
given. I couldn't sign off drawings, but on most projects only ONE senior
engineer did that anyway, regardless of how many senior engineers in the
same discipline worked on the project.

Engineering companies, in my experience, don't believe that having attained
your PE makes you a better engineer. Having your PE just make you more
legally responsible, and liable to be sued if something goes wrong.

Win Day
Technical Writer/Editor
Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com

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