When I was in my university first year first semester, I have a subject called Software Engineering. That was the early beginning of the new millennium and the software industry also growing up at that time. In that time all the batch mates have a dream about Bachelors of Science Honors degree. After graduating them they have to work in Software Engineering field.
When we are at our primary schools, everyone have a dream ambition about Doctors, Engineers and Accountants. (Hopefully no one has an ambition of being a driver, coconut pluckier, a marketing person on the road or even a businessman.) At least they are not thinking about the secondary level of higher position such as Nurse, Technical Officer, banker or a teacher.
But after higher school they have to change their ambitions. So I choose a Software Engineer profession as my career.
In our first lecture of Software Engineering subject first slide contains with a topic called "What is Software Engineering?" Mrs. Pradahini teaches us what is that. Then the second slide was "Are Software Engineers, Engineers?" . I remembered she teaches us it is yes. We learned lots of logics and apply those into practical level and develop final product to users to increase their efficiency so that's is a part of an engineer, so Software Engineer is actually Engineer. (That's all about theory).
After working in industry, I feel that is true. I feel always I'm an Engineer. Did lots of massive projects. But later I feel that I can believe I'm an Engineer but others cannot. I will tell you some funny examples (but it's actually not funny) to prove it.
One year back, I attend to an alms which we organize. Before the alms, Buddhist priest talk with me and get some information about me. My name, occupation, day today works, Education level and so on. In that conversation he knows I'm an Engineer and also I'm one of main contributor for the alms. At the end of alms, in his speech he mention all the contributors to the alms. All the doctors, accountants, bankers and businessmen are there. But no Software Engineers. He just mention my name only. Not the profession :)
One day I went to meet a doctor to get medicine for my mother. So he is asking who am I? so my mother told him my son is an engineer. Then he asks which kind of engineer. So I told him I'm Software Engineer. He says "oh there are lots of Software Engineers are there" and stop talking with me.
I assume doctors think that private universities cannot provide good Software Engineers because at that time they are not "Manufacturing" doctors from private universities. But now they have a competition too.
One day my friend needs to get his passport and he applies with employer letter to prove his designation as software Engineer. But authorities reject it and set his profession as none. The reason they give to rejection is they doesn't know whether is actually an Engineer. What the hell?
When I was at one of my cousins house, cousin has private tuition. I cannot remember the exact lesson That tuition master teaches them. But he says for man power hiring Software Engineers are the most less expected infrastructure people. In that lesson he mention that Software Engineer does not bother about his appearance. They can code 2-3 days without change their clothes. They aren't expected social respect like doctors and other engineers. He told many shameful things about Software Engineers. So I feel so upset about my profession. It's actually not about the profession. Other people's view of my profession.
I know he is telling truth. Software Engineers does not bother about the dress. They are not smart wearing people. They just put a denim and t-shirt as a dress. Not a difference between rascal / robber or School leaver. I'm not insulting any other profession. But I'm weeping about my profession.
When I was a banker 10 years back, Most of the people recognized me as a "Banker". I was a trainee at that time. But I have gentlemen look. I wear a long sleeve shirt and a tie with matching color combinations. Even I don't have a job, people will recognize me as a gentlemen when I wear like that. But this is not applicable for Software Engineer.
Most of the software engineers does not care about job security. They can start work another place easily when lose his job. So when a software engineer has 5 years experience in his career, at least he works for 3 places for those 5 years.
In this field maximum working expectation is 5 years at a place. If you work more than that in a one place that is your fault. (Most of the time, company will treat you as a time waster.)
in current society people will measure you from your dress. A doctor can identify as his clean suit with a tie and stethoscope. Engineer can identify his suit and his helmet. Mechanic can identify as his trouser and the other equipment. Even nurse or a teacher. But how to identify Software Engineer? An old torn denim with a t-shirt and wearing rubber slippers with a Laptop. May be without combing hair or long hair.
How can we get the respect from others. Think first. I think this is the time to change people's attitude about SOFTWARE ENGINEERS.