Something I’m starting to realise and accept for myself: I’m a web developer. Not an engineer. Mostly an approach & understanding difference
– Me, 6-Feb 2015
This seemed to strike a chord with a few people, and others asked if I could embellish on those thoughts. So here it is.
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Actually, where titles aren't fluff, is when you work in a larger company. Quite often titles relate directly to pay scales. I digress.
The engineer bit is a little less fluffy and does actually carry meaning.
Calling yourself an engineer, when you're not actually qualified as an engineer is sort of a no-no. In fact, there's some regulation around the engineering titles - and certainly in the UK (according to the Wikipedia page), there's been petitions to protect the title.
Ignoring the regulations, to me, engineers are smart, educated (ideally in a form of engineering...) and specifically: solving complex computer engineering problems.
In a conversation (over twitter) I was having with Trek Glowacki, midway he replied with:
Take a step back and understand the real engineering goal: SRP
I wasn't aware of any engineering goal, nor what SRP stood for, nor did I really understand what the Wikipedia page was saying to me.
Honestly, I kind of feel out of my depth amongst engineers aka those people who *really" took the time to study computer science and grok the shit out of it.
I am web developer
I don't know why I thought it was uncool to be a "web developer". Perhaps because it's utterly vague.
What "web developer" does mean to me though, is this:
Someone who writes code for browsers. Likely from the school of view source, is comfortable with drop-in libraries, understands standards and best practice techniques. But mostly, a tinkerer.
I am not alone
I saw a lot of posts and tweets suggesting that this was a joke, or a disservice to his work, or that the title was utterly understated.
I'm not sure it was. There's no doubt that this man is responsible for a lot more, but he is The Web Developer.
I'm proud to say that I work on that same web. Making it better (and sometimes, perhaps, a little worse).
I've personally learnt my web development skills over a long period of time and nearly entirely through trial and error. I suspect most of us have.
Coming to this realisation is by no means a slur against those people who call themselves engineers. If you do, it's quite likely I already have a great deal of respect for your knowledge and understanding if I've come across your work already.
As for me, I'm proud to say: I am a web developer. I am a tinkerer.