Friday, April 18, 2014


     Who needs it?  Y'know, it's all written down in books; most of what I use in my job, you could sit a smart, motivated kid with a smattering of math down with a handful of parts and VOM and explain the basics in an afternoon; yet the arguments people in my trade -- including me -- get up to are simply staggering.

     99.44% of the time, the problem is not that either side is wrong; it's that either or both hasn't fully put together everything they know.  It's stuff they apply fairly often but there's some gap in understanding on either (or both!) sides of the dispute that prevents reasoning from specific examples to the bigger picture and back to how the other person understands matters.

     TL;DR version: Oh, ghu, I gotta quit arguing on the internet.  It only frustrates me and annoys the pig. 


Ed Skinner said...

If Engineering was easy, blondes would do it.

Bubblehead Les. said...

And those of us Technicians who have tried to understand what the Heck the Engineer was thinking when he made his Design Changes.....

Eck! said...

Humph, as an engineer I resemble that!

Seriously as an applied engineer in electronics I also get flubbered and fried by the hexperts and PHDs with their claims and voodoo. Most would have trouble exiting a paper bag with a sharp knife.

However after 40 plus years and much of it with access to the internet since the ARPA days it can be mildly entertaining winding one of them up to send them on a failsnipe hunt.


B said...

"most of what I use in my job, you could sit a smart, motivated kid with a smattering of math down with a handful of parts and VOM and explain the basics in an afternoon"


It's that last 3 or 4 % where you need the engineering degree.

THe rest is easy.

Roberta X said...

B: you do know I dont have any kind of degree, don't you? Other than a degree of perseverence. Or some word like that.

SJ said...

Kind of like lawyers used to learn by "reading law", engineers used to learn as apprentices.

But that was back when the difference between Technician and Engineer was less distinct.

I'm still trying to figure out if the world of creating software that performs specific tasks is actually "engineering". Even though that is my job, and I have "engineer" in my official title.

B said...


You don't need the *Degree*... that is just a piece of paper wherein someone has said you completed a course of study and passed some tests.

You DO need the knowledge. Sometimes Technicians have that knowledge, sometimes they don't.

*Most* engineers are technicians in reality. SOme technicians are engineers.

THe difference is knowledge.

Ed Skinner said...

I'm in the same boat: two year college then forty on the job. I now teach those writing software for flight control systems and such. I undersrand not just how things work but also why they should be done a certain way. Practical knowledge beats book knowledge but the latter is easier to prove when still a virgin in the field.

Jay Dee said...

Well, with 2 degrees in Engineering and 39 years practice, I would say the difference between an engineer and someone with aptitude combined with an interest in the the subject comes down to a piece of paper of doubtful utility.

Without the aptitude, the degree is useless. Aptitude really doesn't need the degree. Just wish more HR departments would realize this.

Anonymous said...

More like the argumentative sorts have not sorted the small amount we actually know, from the vast number of hypotheses. One of my employers asked me to teach his daughter about electricity.

I did well when I pointed out the fact that according to code the white wires are supposed to be "cold," grounded, while the black wires are "hot," and contact with the conductors will cause "black death."

But when I got to current flow she asked me "what is an electron." I told her the latest theory, prefacing that with "no one really knows what an electron is," yada yada.

Sh slammed the book closed and declared that if no one knows what an electron is, she was not interested. After that, neither was I.