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the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback) - RF Cafe Forums

The original RF Cafe Forums were shut down in late 2012 due to maintenance issues - primarily having to spend time purging garbage posts from the board. At some point I might start the RF Cafe Forums again if the phpBB software gets better at filtering spam. Note: The RF Cafe Forums were reconstituted in April 2021!

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 Post subject: the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback)
Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Folsom CA
Has anyone noticed that the title "engineer" is used very loosely (especially in smaller companies, apparently)?

The last 2 companies I worked at had "RF engineers" that do not even know how to use a calibration kit correctly -(I caught an engineer rotating a precision standard while keeping the cable nut stationary)

in my opinion, how to use a Cal kit is something a "test tech" should learn on his first day.

Or, they don't know Smith chart basics--
among other things....
I'm a tech and even "I" have a basic knowledge of Smith charts--

Any feedback on this from anyone is greatly appreciated.

 Post subject: Re: the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback)
Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:18 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 4:44 pm
Posts: 16
Hey Chuckster, I can rant on about technicians who think they should be called engineers because there are a few things they can do as well or better than a few engineers. There are always the exceptions in all situations. I was a technician for years before earning my engineering degree. Trust me dude, you haven't got a clue about what it takes to be a design engineer. I have my Master's, but I'd like you to go earn your Bachelor's degree, and then come back and tell me you were just as qualified before you did. Just because you might apply a band aid better than your doctor doesn't qualify you to wear the title.

I'm trying not to knock you, but it is quite common to hear technicians huddle in groups and slam an engineer for missing some small detail (like twisting a cal standard). Sometimes they'll sit in my office drinking a soda and complain about some engineer they're working for, then have to get up and leave at 4:30 to go home while I bid good night and get to leave at 7:00 or 8:00 - with no overtime pay like they would get. When I first got out of college, there was one tech who flashed is paycheck at me every couple weeks to show how he made more than me with a few overtime hours, while I consistently worked more hours than he did and made less since engineers don't get paid overtime.

After so many years I just laugh it off. Same with when techs rant about how they should be the engineer. If you can do it, then get your degree and prove it to me - don't just whine.

 Post subject: Re: the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback)
Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:15 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Folsom CA
Thanks for the reply VSWR.
In retrospect, I guess I did sound like I was ranting and whining.

And you're right. I don't have a clue about being a design engineer (although I have designed some good circuits)

More specifically, I've worked with people whose title was "test engineer" or "production engineer" although they've had only an Associate's degree (or not even that).

These guys are long time technicians that were promoted (to engineer).

I am not trying to slam people, though. I'm just asking if this is a common practice in the RF/ microwave world.

P.S.: Potentially destroying a $10,000 Cal Kit by twisting the standard is not a "small detail" :)

 Post subject: Re: the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback)
Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:13 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:18 pm
Posts: 6
I was a technician for a few years before earning my engineering degree and it has always bugged me when people use the term "engineer" for someone who doesn't have an engineering degree. And it's not just in traditional engineering fields either. You see it all over the place (a facetious example is "sanitation engineer" aka garbage man).

Engineers share a common knowledge of what it takes to get through engineering school. Until you've done it, you really have no idea how hard it is. I know I didn't have a clue how hard it was going to be. And I believe engineers have a certain degree of respect for other engineers purely because of the appreciation for their accomplishment of getting through the classes. Put any two EEs together and let them start talking about courses and there is a common understanding between them about which classes were most difficult, most fun, or the ones everyone hated.

Don't get me wrong, though. I respect and appreciate what technicians do. My time as a technician has made me a better engineer. And I've worked with technicians that would make fine engineers given the academic training. By the same token, I've worked with engineers that would make lousy technicians. But, until you earn an engineering degree, I don't think you should call yourself an engineer.

 Post subject: Re: the title "engineer" is loosely applied (I want feedback)
Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Folsom CA
"Until you've done it, you really have no idea how hard it is."

Well, I do have "some" idea of how hard it is. I have an AS in electronics.

Anyway, I guess I wasn't clear enough.

My question here is:
Is it common in the RF industry for techs (ie.: those with no more than an AA or AS) to be promoted to the title of "engineer"?

Posted  11/12/2012
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