Archive for August, 2008

Cargo-cult Engineering

August 27, 2008

There is an old song about software engineering. I thought it had died until the other day I came across a post by Jack Ganssle (; 05/12/08). Under the title “Programmer or Engineer?” he argues that the word “programmer” should be banned and that embedded applications should by built by electrical or computer engineers.

It may well be that engineers are satisfactory for the “embedded applications” that Mr Ganssle has in mind. But another category of people is needed to meet the greater challenges posed by computers. Neither of the existing categories: “engineer” nor “computer scientist” can be relied on to fit the bill.