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Engineers Working Harder for Their Paycheck

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the more-fun-every-year dept.

268

Editorgirl35 writes to tell us Design News has posted their annual engineering salary survey. While it does offer encouraging results with salaries up a bit from last year it also shows that engineers are, on the average, doing a lot more to earn that paycheck including supervisory and budgetary functions. From the article: "Kody Baker, a 28-year-old mechanical engineer agrees, "Yes, we are doing far more than just designing products," he says. He's a project manager, manufacturing engineer, product designer, R&D engineer, test engineer, CAD systems specialist, CAD instructor/mentor, and more, juggling many roles in his job as a mechanical application engineer at Honeywell."

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So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767210)

It's not how many jobs you do, it's how much effort each of them takes.

De-commoditising engineering (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 8 years ago | (#15767317)

If you want to be just a commodity engineer with a job description then don't cry when your job goes to China/India/whatever. To stay competitive, you have to add value beyond working to a job description. Welcome to the new millenium. Get over it.

Re:De-commoditising engineering (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 years ago | (#15767587)

To stay competitive, you have to add value beyond working to a job description. Welcome to the new millenium.

Yes, but people aren't getting paid any more for their added efforts. That was the whole promise of The WTO, NAFTA, etc. It's supposed to be more "effecient" to outsource jobs, meaning higher incomes and cheaper products all-around, not more work for less money.

Re:De-commoditising engineering (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767695)

Thanks for the memories, I well remember that flavour of Koolaid. It's in a company's self interest to create the belief passively withstanding tremendous abuse in the name of profit is strength. Here's a helpful hint, I wish someone had told me decades ago: it never ends. You think it's about the 'new millenium'? I heard the same sales pitch last millenium. Reducing staff and expanding job descriptions were big twenty years ago. Companies will push and push until pushed back, otherwise they'd be happy working you to death and using the remains for dogfood if it went unpunished.

What do think gave us the weekend, paid vacation and the end of child labour? The touch of the invisble hand and natural generosity of CFOs? Somehow being told to 'take it like a man' as the best approach to being corn-holed by an employer just doesn't do it for me anymore, you know?

Welcome to life (5, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | about 8 years ago | (#15767216)

and the fact that your actual job duties will entail far more than what your job description said.

Seriously, someone managed to write an article about this concept?

Re:Welcome to life (2, Insightful)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 8 years ago | (#15767225)

Agreed, ask any trades person if their job consists only of work discribed by the name of their trade.

Re:Welcome to life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767249)

So can you tell me what other duties a professional asshole has?

Re:Welcome to life (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767296)

> So can you tell me what other duties a professional asshole has?

Oh, like Steve Gilmor and John Dvorak? Poop all over the (printed|web)page.

Re:Welcome to life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767665)

So can you tell me what other duties a professional asshole has?

Posting as AC on Slashdot.
No wait...

Re:Welcome to life (4, Informative)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 8 years ago | (#15767299)

Eh, my company routinely offers people "Management" positions with no pay increase whatsoever. In one case it actually offered someone a substantial *DECREASE* in pay to take a management position.

Thats the first thing I thought of when I read this.

Re:Welcome to life (5, Insightful)

Stephen Tennant (936097) | about 8 years ago | (#15767313)

Important to note that in most places, if you're in management, you cannot join the union, or start one, for that matter, as you're not representative. The REAL management may nominally promote its workers pre-emptively just to avoid workers organizing.

Re:Welcome to life (3, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 8 years ago | (#15767335)

Thats a *VERY* good point. However, it this particular case, the upper management completely undermines the middle management with unrealstic projects, deadlines, budgets and staffing levels. Nothing gets done. And they blame the manager. Everyone sees this, and nobody will ACCEPT any middle management positions. Far more so when they offfer *NO* pay increase whatsoever, yet you'll soon be the scape goat for their problems.

Re:Welcome to life (3, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 8 years ago | (#15767466)

and you have to deal with the TPS reports form all of the people under you

Re:Welcome to life (4, Funny)

tsajeff (925056) | about 8 years ago | (#15767478)

Don't forget about coming in on Saturday... Oh, and by the way, I'm going to have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too...

Re:Welcome to life (1, Flamebait)

dawnzer (981212) | about 8 years ago | (#15767671)

Another item to note - engineers are considered professionals and cannot join a union anyway!

If hours and salary are constant I'll do whatever (4, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | about 8 years ago | (#15767398)

I got my current job on the expectation that I'd be doing mostly non-engineering work. My main day to day function is being a research, to the extent that I introduce myself as one rather than give my actual title (because people wonder "Then WTF are you doing in front of the computer all day"). In any given workweek I might do PR presentations, translate documents, interpret for clients, hold an internal lecture about SEO, help the web team out a bit, or actually do some research/programming. And you know what? It doesn't matter to me. I'm still getting the same salary we agreed on and I'm still working the (absurdly low) number of hours they request from me. My thought is if they're paying me for my brain and my time then they can use both however they want to, within reason.

Honeywell, GeCos job system, Octal my arse !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767222)

Honeywell, GeCos job system, Octal my arse !!

Average pay is far from real life (5, Funny)

jt2377 (933506) | about 8 years ago | (#15767227)

"Engineers earned an average of $73,000 last year," if you can find a job that pay the "average" salary, half of people that i know get far less than that.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (4, Funny)

Mozk (844858) | about 8 years ago | (#15767268)

And half get paid far more? So it all evens out to the average, right? I do remember something like that in math.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767290)

Not quite, he did say "far less", the other half could be "less". Is great when you're so condescending and superior you rush to make a reply without actually processing what was said.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (4, Interesting)

justthinkit (954982) | about 8 years ago | (#15767408)

I think further examination would show engineer wages bunched closer to the average than almost any other profession. Lawyers would probably have the greatest distribution. Although I never practiced as a chemical engineer [BASc, UBC, 1984], switching to computers over 20 years ago, I am proud to be associated with this profession.

As to the trend, I would say that the current economic conditions are pushing companies to push their engineers into new areas. But engineers always do whatever they have to to get the job done. When I did computer stuff at NLK Consultants, it was routine to hand engineers new software tools and watch them go and use them -- no training, no big deal, just part of the job.

It is also worth observing that other than one person's quote, most of the article deals with _skills_ that engineers think are important -- not their actual duties. There were few hard stats about how much more they are doing other than "50% say they are working in more areas than they did a year ago". I think that engineering is less subject to change and management interference than the average business -- something to do with rule #1: make sure the bridge doesn't collapse. Making an article like this bogus by default.

OT: Re:Average pay is far from real life (1)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#15767527)

NLK Consultants as in Nystrom, Lee and Kobayashi?

Re:Average pay is far from real life (1)

Isotopian (942850) | about 8 years ago | (#15767503)

You know what, leave him alone!
I just give him credit for remembering ANYTHING from Math.
Course it probably would've helped if I didn't use Math class as my personal somnambulation period.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (4, Insightful)

ncmusic (31531) | about 8 years ago | (#15767588)

You're thinking median not average. It's possible to have an average where say 10% of the people make more than average.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (1, Funny)

jleq (766550) | about 8 years ago | (#15767279)

"Engineers earned an average of $73,000 last year," if you can find a job that pay the "average" salary, half of people that i know get far less than that.
Yes, and the other half of the people you know get more than that. That's why we call it the average salary. ;)

Re:Average pay is far from real life (1)

AaronPSU777 (938553) | about 8 years ago | (#15767420)

In this article by "average" they are probably talking about the mean, in which case the population is not necessarily split 50-50 on either side of the mean, it could be 60-40 or something. What you are referring to is the median.

You are thinking of the mean (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 8 years ago | (#15767280)

Some outlier who makes a bunch of money could skew the average.

Re:You are thinking of the mean (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15767403)

How many Carmacks are there, really? Anyway, what's the median salary?

Re:You are thinking of the mean (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 8 years ago | (#15767468)

Yeah, I'd like a standard deviation on that one, too. However, since it's a made-up number in an article that's the validity equivalent of cross posting "Missing link found!" to alt.creationism and alt.darwinistehhot, I wouldn't count on it.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767306)

That is why is is the average salary. Probably far more than half the engineers you know earn less than that. A better measurement would have been the median salary. Half is above the median and half is above it.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0, Flamebait)

uarch (637449) | about 8 years ago | (#15767316)

"Engineers earned an average of $73,000 last year," if you can find a job that pay the "average" salary, half of people that i know get far less than that.
Given your use of the English language I'm not surprised.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767352)

Given your use of the English language I'm not surprised.

I hate this kind of response. I would think many slashdotters speak English as a second language, and may have less than perfect grammar. This is an accomplishmnet that should be respected and admired, not scorned. Please, show a little respect.

oh wait, ... I must be new here.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767577)

Respect? From slashdot? C'mon! This is a crew that elevates the saying "I'm smarter than you" to a new art form.

Yes, they still live in their parent's basement, but goddamnit they know their grammar and they're itching to prove it to you! Won't somebody please validate their superiority?!

Re:Average pay is far from real life (1)

uarch (637449) | about 8 years ago | (#15767599)

That's why the mod system is in place. Fire away! ;)

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767327)

Yeah, I moved from the midwest to the west coast --- my salary went up 50%, but then again, I paid $1200 to live with a roommate in an apartment that would've cost me $800 max back home.

So, all relative. If you can take the leaving home, come to the bay area, we always need more brains.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (0, Flamebait)

eonlabs (921625) | about 8 years ago | (#15767630)

here's a better question...
Who gets paid more than that(75-120k/year), but does less work for it, in the US.
We can skip acting and professional sports.

Re:Average pay is far from real life (1)

GimliGloin (642963) | about 8 years ago | (#15767666)

You are confusing average (mean) with mediun. Its probably pretty close though... GSG

Engineers not the only ones... (4, Insightful)

Stephen Tennant (936097) | about 8 years ago | (#15767232)

But to earn that paycheck, you're doing more than ever.

As I understand it, people across America have been working harder for the same pay for some time now. This trend is exemplified by less vacation time taken by Americans, greater hours worked for the same relative pay, and fewer benefits offered than even a decade ago.

I believe the Economist had a special on this a while ago, showing that Americans are four times less likely to achieve high net worth status than Canadians, even though they work more hours and take on more responsibilities.

60 Minutes - CBS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767251)

As I understand it, people across America have been working harder for the same pay for some time now

It was just on a rerun of 60 Minutes tonight saying the same thing. Thanks to technology (especially the Crackberry) and this social more were quantity is more important than quality - hence all of the stupid meetings and being in the office for the sake of being there. It's too bad that the jobs that pay based on results are only in sales. I'd go there, but I suck at it.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (5, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | about 8 years ago | (#15767267)

I think the reason we are less likely to acheive more net worth is because we all spend like drunken sailors. We spend every dime we get and when that isn't enough, we run up credit card debt at 20-30% interest (the mafia gives better rates). As an aside, we then wonder why our government carries on the same way. We get what we deserve.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (1, Offtopic)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#15767381)

. . .we run up credit card debt at 20-30% interest. . .

. . .on stuff that's obsolescent and 90% depreciated in a year or three, that is, assuming we didn't just outright piss it away on nothing at all (I'm going to Disneyland).

KFG

re: spending (5, Informative)

King_TJ (85913) | about 8 years ago | (#15767392)

I have to disagree, although I grant you it's true that *some* people are incredibly irresponsible when it comes to their finances.
In the cases of most people I know (and even in my own case), we're in that majority of Americans who are expected to do more work for less pay - and yet, we're striving to scrape together some kind of lifestyle we aren't ashamed to have around our friends and family.

EG. I could theoretically "put away" more of each paycheck in investments, rather than spending all of it, BUT I'm just about out of corners I can cut. My current salary is thousands less per year than I was paid to do a job involving LESS responsibility, 6 or 7 years ago - and that's after a long stint of unemployment/self-employment and heavy job hunting. Meanwhile, gasoline costs roughly 3x as much as it did back then, and even little things like going out to lunch are about double the cost. (I remember around 1997 or 98, it was quite possible to buy lunch for under $4.00. I used to go to Subway and get a 6-inch cold cut trio sandwich with chips and a drink for about $3.90. To do the same today is around $6.00-$6.50 depending on the store and local taxes.) I get paid bi-weekly and the check I receive at the end of each month is completely wiped out by just my house payment, car payment, and my choice of one smaller bill such as electric, gas, or telephone. The other check is well over half gone just paying for my other utility bills and car insurance. That leaves me with maybe $300-400 for everything else, including groceries, gasoline, car repairs and maintenance, home repairs or improvement, and so on. And I don't even live in a good neighborhood or a "big house" by any means!

I have 2 credit cards, but one has only a $500 balance and the other a $250 balance. Even maxxing those out and paying their outrageous interest rates - that's not going to bury me financially. (And for the record, I have a 0 balance on the $500 limit card and try to keep it that way 90% of the time.)

It just bothers me to get "the lecture" from people about not saving for a "rainy day" -- when doing what they suggest would involve something like going without electricity for a month, or running out of food for my kid. There are a growing number of people out there just like me ... working 2 jobs and struggling like mad to keep our heads above water without stooping to government assistance and subsidized housing - but to an outsider, we appear to be fairly "middle class".

Re: spending (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 years ago | (#15767502)

scrape together some kind of lifestyle we aren't ashamed to have around our friends and family

And we hit the point of debt. We are trained to live the correct life style we need things to show off status. Debt allows us to show this status to friends and family to make them feel like you did something with your life. If we realized our standard of living is not a G/god given right, then we may be able to stay out of debt. So lets assume you live in the North East US not NYC. What you need.
Shelter: Studio Apartment $300, Heat $100, a good working car $150 an average of 30 miles travel day at $4:00 a gallon $256, food $320, electricity $100, medical $200. So living comfortable and safely can be at $17,112 a year or about $9.00 and hour at full time. This is assuming you are living by yourself. And I tried to keep the estimates on the higher side. So most engineers make at least $15 an hour and most of them (at my area) make $25-$35 an hour). We as Americans need to learn to put their pride aside and learn to lower their standard of living, if we want to get out of debt.
At first I was wonder what I was doing wrong, other people who make as much as me seemed to have a higher quality of life, then I realized the average person is $30,000 in debt, so I know I am actually better off and I can live comfortably without worrying about debt.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (2, Funny)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 8 years ago | (#15767430)

Actually, a drunken sailor spends all his money on alcohol and gambling, then, when he run out, takes a job on another ship to a new port. No debt involved, unless he was really bad at gambling.

Not to say that this doesn't accurately describe how i spend my money, but you might wanna watch your similes.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (5, Funny)

monoqlith (610041) | about 8 years ago | (#15767489)

we run up credit card debt at 20-30% interest (the mafia gives better rates).


Actually, the mafia has a tiered compounding interest rate for all of their loans..I've seen their policy. IIRC, the rate chart looks something like this:

1 week: Veiled threat to kill your family.
2 weeks: Tiretreads of a '76 Buick LeSabre or 82' Cadillac Deville over your arm
3 weeks: A lead pipe to the knee cap or lower back - your choice
4 weeks: Gunshot wound to your shoulder, courtesy of Bambino "the Stallion" Carmatsi
5 weeks: A free face stabbing

The chart I saw only has listing for the five weeks, but I hear they have long-term plans as well.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | about 8 years ago | (#15767648)

5 weeks: A free face stabbing

They're going to be rich if they can hook it up to a web interface.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | about 8 years ago | (#15767310)

That's why everyone's goal should be to become a professor in some obscure topic that they enjoy (say philsophy, see .sig) which allows you to take summers off and write incomprehensible papers about the subject you love, for the small price of teaching a bunch of ungrateful students. (yes this was tongue-in-cheek)

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 years ago | (#15767446)

Competition. Well it is an issue of competition. What happened was guy A worked harder and got a raise. Person B worked normal and didn't. Person B wanting a raise worked harder. Now this continues down the line and the company cant afford to give everyone raises but all the engineers are working there butts off and the ones who aren't look like the slackers. Also with massive layoffs of the past few years it has shifted to a Employers market.

Re:Engineers not the only ones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767484)

Actually, the Economist just posted an article on how Americans have plently of free time. http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm ?story_id=5476124 [economist.com]
BTW, what does Mechanical Engineering have to do with IT?

Net worth is a meaningless measure (2, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | about 8 years ago | (#15767584)

If I make $500,000 each year and spend the same, I have zero net worth. Meanwhile, if you make $20,000 but only spend $19,000, you gain $1000 in net worth each year. Yet who would you rather be?

The only relevant statistic is how much we earn per hour (ie, productivity), and yes, we beat Canada, Europe, Japan, etc. The fact that we choose to work more and spend more on average is not a public policy issue. If someone is using "net worth" in a political debate, they are probably full of it, and in almost all cases, looking at total earnings or earnings per hour will paint an entirely different picture.

Are people complaining about this?!?!? (1, Flamebait)

jmens (990577) | about 8 years ago | (#15767235)

Since when is taking on new responsibilities and learning new skills that make yourself more marketable as a whole something to complain about? More and more companies are moving towards organic structures where cross functional skills are a necessity. If you want to be stuck in the same job forever then by all means turn down any offer to showcase your capabilities. In my opinion engineers are some of the most able-minded people to take on other roles in an organization. They possess the critical thinking and deductive skills to approach many types of problems. But given the historic and stereotypical personality (or lack thereof) of engineers I'm not sure I would want them giving too many sales pitches to my customers!

Re:Are people complaining about this?!?!? (1)

starbird (409793) | about 8 years ago | (#15767334)

Being more marketable generally means recieving higher pay for your work, not doing more work for the same money.

Re:Are people complaining about this?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767479)

doing more work for the same money
Which is akin to saying you're doing the same amount of work for less money.

Re:Are people complaining about this?!?!? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | about 8 years ago | (#15767490)

No, it isn't. You generally can't agree to "half-way write a program" for half as much money.

That's simple (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15767500)

There's only so much you can do in a given day, and Americans are already the most overworked nation in the world.

This contributes seriously to health problems which libertarians like you would hope the worker pays for and not you.

Eventually this work ethic costs you your family and your marriage simply because you can't be home to see your wife and kids. Oh wait, in your universe, that doesn't happen. Ok, anyways.

Yes, They are fucking us to death (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | about 8 years ago | (#15767237)

compared to the workload they dump on people 30-40 years ago. however less pay.

Nothing new here (5, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | about 8 years ago | (#15767240)

After thirty-plus years in engineering I don't see anything new here. Then again, I mostly worked in small companies or small-team groups in medium-sized companies.

What this may be showing is the trend towards smaller companies (already noted elsewhere) or larger companies using smaller, self-organized teams rather than groups of hundreds or thousands who have several layers of management for one project. My current project team has less than twenty staff assigned, including support and management -- and it's the largest team I've worked on since 1979.

Kody Baker (0, Flamebait)

pipingguy (566974) | about 8 years ago | (#15767244)

If this guy can tap dance also, he's hired!

But seriously folks, 28 year-old mechanical engineers are notorious for their ability to do everything.

The real world (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767246)

As a mechanical contractor, working with Honeywell products, and having to apply the engineering to real world application, I find, that the leadership that many contractors are looking for, is lacking. Many times, actual project engineers are sub-par, and it is the contractors' experience that get's the job done, with the engineer walking away with not having to use his insurance to cover mistakes.
It is not that the engineer is not intellegent, but in fact is he/she is over worked, dealing with multiple projects, with impossible dead lines. Many contractors are able to get away with sub-par work, because the job for the engineer is very stressed. Many engineers don't understand what they are engineering, since mechanical engineering is a wide field. They use rule of thumb. And when the contractor uses rule of thumb, we have a recipe for disaster.
More engineers need to go in to the real world, as a helper, or technician. Understand the way things are done, and then become the leadership that a company and a project needs.

arrghhh, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767301)

dude, would, you, please, learn, how, to, use, commas, correctly?

Wearing multiple hats. (4, Interesting)

Oz0ne (13272) | about 8 years ago | (#15767258)

I have been one of these hat-wearers since 1997. The reason being, I tend to stick to smaller businesses. The agile ones instead of the corporate behemoths. I do contract to the larger corps occasionally but it's not a working environment I enjoy. My salary has increased every year I have been employed through three companies and various contracts. Moving up is about expanding your experience as well as your spectrum of abilities.

But it's not about being able to do everyone's job! It's about being able to understand what other departments are doing, knowing enough of their job so you can work with them efficiently. Not only is it important in a communication perspective, but it's priceless in the troubleshooting and design phases of product development.

Bottom line is, every employee of value--anywhere--needs to be able to step back and see the bigger picture of the corporation/foundation/office/whatever. Technical specialists that can't see beyond their single language, single router, server, whatever are a dime a dozen. It's great to have someone with extreme expertise, but they are also easily replaceable.

Re:Wearing multiple hats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767621)

" Technical specialists that can't see beyond their single language, single router, server, whatever are a dime a dozen."

That's well and good but what has it to do with engineers? We're expected to know all that as a convenience, the real work dwarfs anything so trivial. Those are the extras tacked onto the core. My suspicion is you don't really know what engineers do (and no, not 'software engineers', real engineers, the PEng kind.)

Venture Brothers ! (1)

Joebert (946227) | about 8 years ago | (#15767266)

Aren't venture capitalists grand ?

Posted under 'IT'?? (0, Flamebait)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 8 years ago | (#15767282)

This should be posted under Technology.

I have written embedded code for medical devices. So 'Software Engineer' is on my resume. But I've also qualfied the designs of all discrete electronic circuits.

I bristle when a recruiter or HR person tries to bracket me as 'IT.'

IT are the clerks of the data world.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (-1, Troll)

DietCoke (139072) | about 8 years ago | (#15767320)

And Engineers are the retards of the regular world.

Who do you call when your PC or workstation craps out? Who do you call when your measurements database is shitting and you don't know why?

You call IT. And we fix your problem, regardless of the fact that you're generally snotty, unappreciative, and antisocial. And you still look down on us. Well, from one "IT" person to an "Engineer", get fucked. Wait, I forgot - that isn't possible.

Ok, go fuck yourself then, asshole.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767346)

Aw did he strike a nerve?

I personally have only ever met a very few IT guys that were useful beyond fixing just the simplest
computer problems. Even now at the school I'm at I spend most of my TA time doing the IT guys job
for them because they're too stupid to figure out how to install an application so it works.

IT guys are guys who think they're uber 1337 because they know C and couldn't hack it as an engineer.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (2, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15767399)

Who do you call when your PC or workstation craps out? Who do you call when your measurements database is shitting and you don't know why?

I call IT and a DBA respectively. Then, if someone shits on the floor, I call a janitor.

You call IT. And we fix your problem, regardless of the fact that you're generally snotty, unappreciative, and antisocial. And you still look down on us.

Bullshit. I don't know you, and so long as the PCs get replaced, I don't worry or look down my nose.

Well, from one "IT" person to an "Engineer", get fucked. Wait, I forgot - that isn't possible.

Speak for yourself. Half the people on my team are married or getting married.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 8 years ago | (#15767419)

You know, developing some social graces, or at least pushing your strategies of interpersonal interaction beyond where they were when you were three years old ("I'm dumb? Well, you're stupid!") would probably cause your job to become a bit more enjoyable.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (1, Troll)

Millenniumman (924859) | about 8 years ago | (#15767486)

Well... you're stupid!

Hypocrisy abounds on /. (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15767547)

"You know, developing some social graces, "

You mean, like referring to IT workers as the "clerks of the data industry"?

I've been on all sides of those train tracks and now I manage people like Bing Tsher every day. He's not as much as he thinks he is.

If my boss were like the dweebs that you guys work for, he could replace you engineers just as easily as any IT "clerk".

Next, you stuck up fools will be locked in an insult contest between Mechanical engineers and Civil Engineers. What a joke. All of you are just wage rats waiting to be eaten by the offshoring/redundancy monster, and all you can do is sit here yapping about who's the alpha rat and who's the beta rat.

Bite me, mods. You, too, work for someone who sees you as expendable as the next person. You can't mod that fact down, but it can mod you down to the unemployment line.

Re:Hypocrisy abounds on /. (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 8 years ago | (#15767632)

Well, assuming it's a subject-related design job, an IT guy can actually get replaced with much more ease than, say, a civil engineer (because of the whole 'everyone and their mother and their mother's dog has had an IT degree since 1993' thing). In general, though, yeah, everyone's replaceable. After seeing seven or eight bosses in the last few years, I'm going to add that everyone's replaceable, especially managers. So you might consider watching your own back while you're reminding the rest of us how vulnerable we are.

Re:Hypocrisy abounds on /. (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15767651)

You can go overseas and get an engineer. Or bring in an H1B.

And yeah, managers are replaceable. I could lose this job and bump back down to a network engineer, programmer or tester.

Take a second to blink. Bam. Somewhere out there a CEO is being replaced, too. That's not going to be so uncommon when those offshored workers start plying their engineering and IT knowledge to form their own companies. Low paid workers + low paid managers + low paid CEOs = bye bye American competitor.

Oh yeah and I can't wait to hear the "you're a software engineer, what a loser!" "you're a network engineer, they're a dime a dozen!" "civil engineers? we can replace you with robots!" ROTFLMAO let the maturity and civility commence.

Re:Posted under 'IT'?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767693)

I have written embedded code for medical devices. So 'Software Engineer' is on my resume.
IT are the clerks of the data world.


Do you have a engineering license? If not then how can you call yourself an engineer, code monkey?

Only 40% with a Bachelor's? (4, Insightful)

uarch (637449) | about 8 years ago | (#15767365)

FTFA:
On average, engineers are working 46 hours per week and more than 40 percent have a bachelor's degree in engineering.
Wait a minute... That implies ~60% don't have at least Bachelor's degree.
Is this article talking about real engineering or does it simply accept that anything with the word engineering in the title falls under engineering (eg. Refuse Disposal Engineer)?

Re:Only 40% with a Bachelor's? (1)

cyclone96 (129449) | about 8 years ago | (#15767426)

That would perhaps account for why this article concludes that engineers having multiple responsibilities is somehow surprising. Everything I'm seeing in the article strikes me as pretty normal expectations for an engineer holding a degree.

From TFA:
"From taking on supervisory and budgetary functions to learning new skill sets, to broadening their responsibilities, today's design engineers are doing far more than they ever had before."

In other circles, that's generally defined as "career progression".

It's kind of misleading that they got a quote from a 28 year old mechanical engineer. Five years out of school (which is about where I would guess that he is) is where a lot of engineers transition from working under close supervision on limited projects to being expected to do a lot more on their own, and be able to do some training and supervision of newer employees.

Re:Only 40% with a Bachelor's? (1)

Moofie (22272) | about 8 years ago | (#15767436)

Or, perhaps, they have an undergraduate degree in chemistry/physics/whatever, and a graduate degree in an engineering discipline.

Re:Only 40% with a Bachelor's? (1)

gerf (532474) | about 8 years ago | (#15767450)

At my co-op job, we had a biologist, among others. Also, we had a about a quarter to a third of the people with associate's degrees + a lot of experience. Also, our drafters were considered "engineers" though their actual design work may have been minimal.

Re:Only 40% with a Bachelor's? (1)

C. Alan (623148) | about 8 years ago | (#15767580)

I know a couple of registered Civil Engineers whom don't have degrees. In California, all you have to do is pass the EIT exam, and work in the industry 6 years in the industry. Then if you can pass the PE exam, then you can become a registered Engineer.

In case you don't want to register (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767395)

You can download the survey from here [designnews.com] instead.

My uncle (1)

genrader (563784) | about 8 years ago | (#15767396)

is a mechanical engineer who devotes his life to his job. He owns his own business now but he still will put in 18 hour work days (during a job he did for Honda he worked almost 50 hours straight) and the pay isn't worth it a lot of the time.

Works Hard For The Money (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767411)

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

Onetta there in the corner stand and wonders where she is and
it's strange to her some people seem to have everything

Nine a.m. on the hour hand and she's waiting for the bell
and she's looking real pretty just wait for her clientele

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

Twenty five years have come and gone
and she' seen a lot of tears of the ones who come in
they really seem to need her there

It's a sacrifice working day to day for little money just tips for pay
But it's worth it all just to hear them say that they care

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

She already knows she's seen her bad times
she already knows these are the good times

She'll never sell out she never will
not for a dollar bill she works hard

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

She works hard for the money so hard for it honey
she works hard for the money so you better treat her right

back in the time (1)

brenddie (897982) | about 8 years ago | (#15767412)

It wasnt unusuall for a nobleman to have many job titles. They could have being a lawyer/doctor/politician for example.
Back then the reasons could be that theres was a need for a doctor and a lawyer and no one was educated but now is to stay competitive.
The more you know/do the less chance that you will become obsolete by the rapid changes on this field.

The engineering singularity. (4, Funny)

twitter (104583) | about 8 years ago | (#15767421)

The limit of the trend is a single "engineer" responsible for all aspects of the business, a single person company, owned by millions of shareholders (IP owners) and one or two CEOs who extract all but $60,000/year of value. The BOFH replaced everyone in sales, accounting, customer relations with shell scripts where the functions could not be merged into the engineering position. The BOFH then disappeared in a cloud of keyboard clatters as one of his scripts replaced him. No one was able to tell what the CEO did, so they left him alone.

Re:The engineering $ingularity. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767445)

twitter, even though it's obviously offtopic, we've translated your post so you can understand it again later when you read it. No need for thanks, it's all good. Enjoy.

The limit of the trend i$ a $ingle "engineer" re$pon$ible for all a$pect$ of the bu$ine$ $, a $ingle per$on company, owned by million$ of $hareholder$ (IP owner$) and one or two CEO$ who extract all but $60,000/year of value. The BOFH replaced everyone in $ale$, accounting, cu$tomer relation$ with $hell $cript$ where the function$ could not be merged into the engineering po$ition. The BOFH then di$appeared in a cloud of keyboard clatter$ a$ one of hi$ $cript$ replaced him. No one wa$ able to tell what the CEO did, $o they left him alone.

Links (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15767650)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=88413&cid=7656 803 [slashdot.org]
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A book I read once said (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#15767431)

that given a choice whether to do a lot of things in mediocrity or 1 area very well, choose the specific thing. The old jack of all trades analogy. Rennaissance men like Leonardo Da Vinci are few and far in between, and even they had to concentrate at some point on one thing before moving onto the next.

When I hit college, I think I experienced this more keenly, as the first two years were broad classes (what I considered BS classes, public school was all BS but then I wasn't paying for it directly either) until it really narrowed down to niche. I was relieved about getting the BS out of the way.

Similiarly, after a while working, I'm choosing jobs that put my strengths to good used and where my employer doesn't make me do too many roles. Sometimes I have to the song and dance like everyone else, but most of the time I'm allowed to concentrate on what I needs to be done. I can't help but think I'm lucky (and conversely, more productive for my employer) that I am not daily encumbered with the drugderies that happy (or crappy) sounding buzzwords like multitasking seem to convey.

I guess it's the different mindset of management vs. engineer/computer types. Engineers like to solve problems and are more used to sitting there until the problem is solved. Management types are used to problems that can't be solved per se, but have to be dealt with on an ongoing basis, which means they are used to and expect to "multitask."

Both types are necessary, but I'm glad I mostly can stay out of the managing side of business.

Re:A book I read once said (3, Insightful)

Millenniumman (924859) | about 8 years ago | (#15767495)

But if you only do one thing very well, and that becomes obsolete (not rare in technology), you can't do anything of value. It is best to be competent in many areas and excel in one.

Graduate Degrees? (2, Interesting)

AugustZephyr (989775) | about 8 years ago | (#15767463)

I read this article quickly, but didnt see any notes on graduate degrees. I would guess that many of the people that feel like they are juggling different tasks in management/finance role have a graduate degree in management or business (versus an masters or doctorate in engineering). As a student an engineering intern this is something that I am still contemplating. I wonder how much difference a latter degree can make in the carrer path of a professional engineer.

Re:Graduate Degrees? (1)

simonsen77 (960018) | about 8 years ago | (#15767571)

Actually, I would guess the opposite: someone with only a bachelor's degree is more likely to fill a "generalist" role; graduate degrees lead to specialization. A graduate degree will likely accelerate your advancement, but is unlikely to be a prerequisite for any particular career path (with some exceptions, of course... don't expect to be too far up the R/D chain without a PhD, and similarly a lack of an MBA will likely create a ceiling of some type). As far as professional registration (first as an engineering intern, then as a PE) it'll probably be immediately apparent once out of school whether it's something you _need_ to purse (say, as a civil engineer), something you don't need at all (pretty much everyone else), or simply something you may get for bragging rights (if you're in consulting).

Re:Graduate Degrees? (1)

dawnzer (981212) | about 8 years ago | (#15767702)

It really depends on what field of engineering you are in. I am a Civil PE working in land development. I don't know a single person in my field working in the private sector that has a an advanced degree. On the other hand, almost everyone gets their professional license as soon as possible. There are other engineering fields where the opposite holds true - it is more valuble to get an advanced degree than it is to get registered. Talk to an engineer in the field you are interested in.

Not just engineers (3, Interesting)

SocialEngineer (673690) | about 8 years ago | (#15767487)

I've found this to be true for almost any somewhat technical field, nowadays. If you have the skills, they will (ab)use you.

I work at a local paper - my primary job description is "Graphic Artist", but I also work with the page layout, do organizational tasks, web development, troubleshooting, sales on rare occasions, and even photography.

All this for only $10 an hour. I don't necessarily mind, but I get overwhelmed quite often, thanks to deadlines (we don't usually have deadlines of a week or so - more like a day, a few hours, or even minutes, on a number of occasions)

It's a puzzlement (2, Insightful)

crmartin (98227) | about 8 years ago | (#15767576)

I'll grant I've only been an active engineer since about 1978, but I know a bunch of guys who've really been at it a long time, and none of them remember a time when a reasonably senior engineer wasn't expected to be a decent drafter (we called them draughtsmen and used pencils, but it's much the same), do his own computations, supervise junior engineers, make budgets, and do costing.

Other than another demonstration that people writing for magazines think "time immemorial" is anything before about 1994, I don't see much surprising here.

The World IS Changing (4, Insightful)

florescent_beige (608235) | about 8 years ago | (#15767605)

I started in the '80's at a large Canadian aerospace company which a couple of years after I arrived got sold (er, given) to a family of the Canadian Establishment. They promply thereafter exported all the materials R&D work I was doing to Ireland. Then they started playing games trying to lock me into a pension plan, to which I replied screw this, I'll do my own. That didn't go down well.

When I left to become a (much better paid) contractor, my boss took me into his office and told me, "You know, I can't approve of this." Apparently, what bosses really mean when they say they want you to show initiative is "Do what I want even if I don't know what it is, oh and make my life easier and make me look good." Well I know thats true, I'm a boss now too.

The real issue as I have come to know it is not that people are being multitasked like crazy (they are), but that its not easy enough to take that kind of experience and translate it into a startup of your own. Companies want their people to act and think like entrepeneurs, but they don't actually want them to become one, and the governments IMHO help them out with that.

Re:The World IS Changing (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 8 years ago | (#15767699)

My company has whipped through an astounding number of office people recently.
I am apparently surviving precisely because I am closer to the Jack than the master.
I spend large chunks of my day trying to maneuver into "what my boss wants, not what he asks for".

In prior companies, I saw abuse occuring because management would try to bully people into working through lunch, etc, as an excuse not to hire.

Wait up, you have a job in this economy? (1)

Triode (127874) | about 8 years ago | (#15767619)

Hey man, STFU... I have a BS in EE (from a real college) and a MS in Physics (again, from a real college) and
I have been jobless for some time now. 15 years unix experience, analog design experience, worked in phyics
labs, particle accelerators, etc, etc, and I can not get a job anywhere.

Take your "waaahhh, mommy, mommy I am doing too much" article and stuff it. At least you are pulling a check.

Re:Wait up, you have a job in this economy? (5, Insightful)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | about 8 years ago | (#15767690)

Have you ever considered personality might have something to do with it?

When do we...... (2, Insightful)

mindcruft (990434) | about 8 years ago | (#15767628)

.....Take a stand. I always hear everyone complain, sometimes including myself. We generally do as we are directed but there is a point where you just say no, hire someone else if you want that done!

Most Managers have to be teachs to... (2, Interesting)

C. Alan (623148) | about 8 years ago | (#15767635)

I am an Engineering supervisor for a mid-sized Civil Engineering Firm. I have 4 junior engineers working for me. Three of them have BS, and one has a Master degree.

I can honestly say that most engineers that come out of schools today are pretty poorly prepared for the work environment. Of the 4 engineers I have working for me now, all of them came out of school not knowing how to write a report, or do autocad. It generally takes me at least one year for me and the office manager to take some one raw out of school, and make them billable.

During that first year I have to be an autocad instructor, an English teacher, and hope they don't move on during the year.

Right now at work I am dealing with an engineer whom has a master's degree specializing in water resources, and yet I took 2 hours trying to explain to her how to do basic rational method hydrology.

If I had one request for engineering school, it would be make the students take at least 2 autocad courses. The first course should be a basic course for all engineering disciplines, and then an advanced course dealing with the software that each discipline typically has to use. Teach civils Autodesk land development desktop, teach mechanicals autodesk inventor, ect... I hate the fact that most took a basic course their freshman year, and never even touched autocad during the rest of their time at school.

--C. Alan Whitten
California RCE 63332

I can confirm this trend (1, Funny)

Gorimek (61128) | about 8 years ago | (#15767674)

Personally, for example, I am formally employed as a software engineer, but I read Slashdot far more than I did a few years back.

The water is rising... (3, Interesting)

70Bang (805280) | about 8 years ago | (#15767682)



After the bubble broke and a lot of management thought they could save money by going over-shoring[1], management knew they still had to find some warm bodies locally. So they added water to the equation and all of the boats would rise. Added water as in effort poured into the body of water. You will generally find people who have director and VP in their titles (and not with seven or eight people in the company) doing hands-on. Directors generally have to be power users of Excel and Access. VPs aren't required to be quite as expensive, tool-wise.

The bottom line of this is the higher the leven of people a company has writing code, the smaller the number of people they have to hire, even if you have enough chimps sitting at enough keyboards.
____________________________________

[1] I've learned by experience, off-shoring is good if you aren't ever going to be managing the [source] code once you get it back. The quality code is generally illegable to anyone except to those who wrote it. It reminds me of the people who wrote code, then passed what they had thru file editors and changed COBOL variable names from "ADD CUSTOMER-WEEKLY-SALES TO CUSTOMER-CURRENT-TOTAL-SALES". to "ADD a3rafas TO awdfasdva-afws-Tasdffgas". i.e., obfuscated code guaranteeing job security. No, it's not apocryphal. I encountered this numerous times with my high school and college clients 20-25 years ago and writing the code to parse the variables proved to be quite a handy tool.


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