Oregon Man Temporarily Wins the Right to Call Himself an "Engineer"

Megalith

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Last month, it was reported that a guy in Oregon was fined $500 by the state for writing “I am an engineer” in an email to the government. After fighting back with a lawsuit, a federal district court has ruled that he may describe himself publicly and privately using the word “engineer” again...or until the litigation is complete, at least. Those who support the fine believe it is justified, as the title implies a specific level of expertise, and for public safety reasons, such titles can only be conferred by state engineering boards.

...the Oregon engineering board asked Järlström to stop calling himself an engineer, and in January fined him $500 for the crime of "practicing engineering without being registered." Last month, Järlström sued the engineering board for violating his First Amendment rights, and Tuesday a federal judge gave Järlström the temporary right to call himself an engineer, pending the results of his case. Järlström's attorneys say this is a promising sign and a "critical first step in protecting Oregonians' First Amendment rights." The story set off something of a firestorm online as First Amendment activists and software engineers argued with civil and electrical engineers about so-called "protected classes" of jobs.
 
I might get bashed for this, but I actually disagree with the notion that "engineer" is a title.

Engineer is just a word. I engineered an alternative mode of transportation. I want to engineer x. Etc.. etc...

If you want a word that you can license as "a level of expertise" then you need to have a certification that says such. One exists for plenty of professions such as CPA for accountants, Bar exam for lawyers, etc....

Engineer is a universal word with no ties to any one industry, nor any one profession. You can be a chemical engineer, you can be a computer engineer, you can be a rocket engineer.... The word engineer in of itself cannot be tied to have skills in any one expertise.

It's like if someone wanted to certify the word "expert", and that no one can use the word "expert" without first registering an "expert". You see where I'm going with this? How is that any different than engineer?
 
If you don't have the degree, and aren't certified by the state, you're about as much an engineer as someone who pretends to be a doctor.

And yes there are certification boards for each state that administer test.

If you are applying for jobs implying something you aren't, you should be BARRED from all future employment activities.
 
oh Gawd! I'm a Cisco engineer.. how fucked am I?
Not to be a snob, and nothing personal but just because you have the paper, doesn't make you a traditional engineer. Needs to be an accredited school. Your paper just means you are trained in a skill, and only one limited skill. However it looks great if you are applying to be a cisco network engineer. And it sure sounds good when they put that word "Engineer" on paper. But it really does a disservice to those who bust their butts for years to learn everything in many disciplines. And if I need you for anything else network related other than cisco, (ie: Setup a server tree farm on active directory with redundant backup and load balancing) I may look elsewhere.

A real engineer is prepared to handle anything that is thrown against him. Electrical, statics, mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid flow/aero

A real computer scientist is ready to handle anything thrown at him. Web/html/css/javascript, java, .NET, VB, C++, Apache, python, embedded assembly, elementary electronics

It's like all these schools that offer accreditation for this and that....most of them turn out to be completely worthless.
 
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Much depends on the legal status of the title 'engineer". In this province, the title Professional Engineer means that you are part of a statutory, regulated profession like a doctor, a nurse, a teacher or a lab technician, all of who have their own professional regulatory college. The regulatory college sets standards, protects the public, disciplines member of the regulated class and much more. You can call yourself an "engineer" however, if you have a degree in engineering, such as electrical, aviation or other discipline. But to call yourself a P.Eng. and represent yourself as a Professional Engineer, you have to be a member of the regulatory college. If, in Oregon, the title "Engineer" is protected by regulatory statute, the guy doesn't have a leg to stand on, free speech or not.
 
Not to be a snob, and nothing personal but just because you have the paper, doesn't make you a traditional engineer. Needs to be an accredited school. Your paper t just means you are trained in a skill, but not one that makes you particularly useful but in that limited skill. Looks great if you are applying to be a cisco network engineer. Sure sounds good though when they put that word "Engineer" on paper tough. It sounds more important.

A real engineer is prepared to handle anything that is thrown against him. Electrical, statics, mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid flow/aero

A real computer scientist is ready to handle anything thrown at him. Web/html/css/javascript, java, .NET, VB, C++, Apache, python, embedded assembly, elementary electronics

It's like all these schools that offer accreditation for this and that....most of them turn out to be completely worthless.


I think you miss understand the issues a network person deals with. It's always the networks fault. We weed out issues and determine root causes of many issues to only find out it's not the network. This includes .Net which talks to DB, web server (apache - Web/html/css/javascript, java), VB login scripts, and hey I plugged this server in but it won't power up. Is it the network?

if you want to argue that Cisco is not an accredited school that okay.

if you took my comment as anything other than a joke... I suggest you take a vacation.
 
You can be all kinds of engineers without a certification. Fairly certain the only "certified" engineer is the PE. PE's have lots of engineers that work under them and have their work signed off by the PE before going to production.

DigitalGriffin I disagree with you on your points-- A PE with focus in civil engineering is not suited to design/build a VFD. A PE with a focus in Controls is not suited to design/build civil infrastructure. The same applied to Doctors! Are you going to let an orthopedic surgeon remove a brain tumor? Nope. The boards would also hold this opinion.

My FIL holds dual Bachelors in EE. He designs power supplies for Lexmark, and then does all the crazy testing needed on them for UL and the EU/CA versions. He is by all accounts an Engineer. When he gets finished with the design and prototyping stage and it cuts the mustard, it gets sent to the PE for final sign-off.
 
Good on him, I shall call him: Sir Engineer the first, of Oregon. At least while its legal :)
 
You can be all kinds of engineers without a certification. Fairly certain the only "certified" engineer is the PE. PE's have lots of engineers that work under them and have their work signed off by the PE before going to production.

DigitalGriffin I disagree with you on your points-- A PE with focus in civil engineering is not suited to design/build a VFD. A PE with a focus in Controls is not suited to design/build civil infrastructure. The same applied to Doctors! Are you going to let an orthopedic surgeon remove a brain tumor? Nope. The boards would also hold this opinion.

My FIL holds dual Bachelors in EE. He designs power supplies for Lexmark, and then does all the crazy testing needed on them for UL and the EU/CA versions. He is by all accounts an Engineer. When he gets finished with the design and prototyping stage and it cuts the mustard, it gets sent to the PE for final sign-off.

But if the work comes onto his desk to design a Variable Frequency Drive (PWM) then that is his duty. All schools make you take basics classes in all engineering disciplines. I'm astrospace and computer science. And I have designed and wired up motherboards for satellites and wrote firmware. Now was I an ideal person for the job? No . But I had a professional engineer who did specialize in the work check over my work.

Truth be told <10% of aerospace engineers work in aerospace. They usually end up doing a lot of mechanical or electrical. Does it mean they are ideal at it? No. But they handle it. But I agree with you. A PE needs to sign off. That's also why you have chief architects who sign off on plans.

But if you told someone with one of these new fangled certifications to do that kind of work, they would be lost. The point is we can do the work and safely with a clue and minimal guidance. But our work should still be checked by an expert who does specialize. These other "paper certification" engineers can't. And that is why we have accredited schools and professional organizations.
 
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I'm cool with this law as long as I never have to call anyone doctor again without some sort of medical degree.

A doctor of philosophy or religious studies? Gag.
 
that engineer 1 bureaucracy 49291937823498230475043.

at least he won the right to call himself an engineer.... temporarily.
 
To me, the biggest differences between a certified "professional" and most skilled trade services have to do with liability and standards of care issues in court. Calling yourself an 'engineer', without meeting that standard, could open you up to being liable or sued for a whole different standard of care than someone who marketed themselves differently.
 
I think you miss understand the issues a network person deals with. It's always the networks fault. We weed out issues and determine root causes of many issues to only find out it's not the network. This includes .Net which talks to DB, web server (apache - Web/html/css/javascript, java), VB login scripts, and hey I plugged this server in but it won't power up. Is it the network?

if you want to argue that Cisco is not an accredited school that okay.

if you took my comment as anything other than a joke... I suggest you take a vacation.

I worked 53 hours last week. I do need a vacation :)

And I'm sure you have more than basic CISCO skills. But i don't know that till I see your education. But a CISCO engineer doesn't tell me if you are certified to handle a wide range of issues as a traditional engineer or a comp scientist is. And if you are speaking as a professional, as this guy was implying to the state , yeah he deserves a can of whoop-ass smack down. Thats a NO NO. In court he would be thrown out.
 
To me, the biggest differences between a certified "professional" and most skilled trade services have to do with liability and standards of care issues in court. Calling yourself an 'engineer', without meeting that standard, could open you up to being liable or sued for a whole different standard of care than someone who marketed themselves differently.
Yeah, but this case is so obviously about context, and basically ass-holeness of behalf of whoever fined this guy.
 
Why the fuck is this even news ?

Some nub says he is an engineer, ok he's an engineer, he could say he is a dog for all I am concerned so wtf is up with the anal engineering court case BS ?

Different story if he said he was a doctor or a cop, but their is millions upon millions of non qualified engineers who beat the shit out of qualified engineers with their home grown skills.

If you had to be qualified to say your an engineer, we would still be stuck in the dark ages with no industrial revolution to speak off.
Look at all the stuff non qualified shed/garage engineers have made...
 
Much depends on the legal status of the title 'engineer". In this province, the title Professional Engineer means that you are part of a statutory, regulated profession like a doctor, a nurse, a teacher or a lab technician, all of who have their own professional regulatory college. The regulatory college sets standards, protects the public, disciplines member of the regulated class and much more. You can call yourself an "engineer" however, if you have a degree in engineering, such as electrical, aviation or other discipline. But to call yourself a P.Eng. and represent yourself as a Professional Engineer, you have to be a member of the regulatory college. If, in Oregon, the title "Engineer" is protected by regulatory statute, the guy doesn't have a leg to stand on, free speech or not.
I disagree, its not like he was selling the plans to build a school, or ANYTHING really, just some toss away comments/suggestions from someone who happens to be an engineer. Context wins it for me.
 
I disagree, its not like he was selling the plans to build a school, or ANYTHING really, just some toss away comments/suggestions from someone who happens to be an engineer. Context wins it for me.

He's implying he's a professional when he wrote to the state. This is the same as an affidavit or testimony when presenting opinion. He doesn't have that right as it's misleading as to his qualifications which give weight or merit to his argument.
 
Why the fuck is this even news ?

Some nub says he is an engineer, ok he's an engineer, he could say he is a dog for all I am concerned so wtf is up with the anal engineering court case BS ?

Different story if he said he was a doctor or a cop, but their is millions upon millions of non qualified engineers who beat the shit out of qualified engineers with their home grown skills.

If you had to be qualified to say your an engineer, we would still be stuck in the dark ages with no industrial revolution to speak off.
Look at all the stuff non qualified shed/garage engineers have made...
In the context, I don't think it would have mattered if he said he's a cop (and happens to be a cop from china).
 
shit here in my country lawers like to be called "doctors", the fucking apes
 
Different story if he said he was a doctor or a cop, but their is millions upon millions of non qualified engineers who beat the shit out of qualified engineers with their home grown skills.

.

Then they should have ZERO issues passing the states certification exams.
 
He's implying he's a professional when he wrote to the state. This is the same as an affidavit or testimony when presenting opinion. He doesn't have that right as it's misleading as to his qualifications which give weight or merit to his argument.
Is it though? an email in a feedback form or some shit?
Or am I missing something?
 
Is it though? an email in a feedback form or some shit?
Or am I missing something?

He's implying he's a professional with knowledge that makes him qualified to state his opinion.

It's a lot of like the bawsers on here who think they know what's best and what AMD should be doing or what Intel should be doing. "I'm a computer enthusiast...I know what they should be doing" Do you understand the difference now?
 
Then they should have ZERO issues passing the states certification exams.


Yes, but not everyone can afford schooling in america so I am led to believe.

If you knew you could do something but couldnt afford to buy a piece of paper that showed people that you were qualified to do whatever, would you let that stop you from as an example, building shit in your garage or take paid work by people who maybe knew upfront you didnt have qualifications but you were a damn good at your job ?

Some jobs its obvious you cant just fake it, one of them would be an engineer on a huge multi million or billion dollar project, but a small time engineer fixing small things for people is A ok in my book.
 
Yes, but not everyone can afford schooling in america so I am led to believe.

If you knew you could do something but couldnt afford to buy a piece of paper that showed people that you were qualified to do whatever, would you let that stop you from as an example, building shit in your garage or take paid work by people who maybe knew upfront you didnt have qualifications but you were a damn good at your job ?

Some jobs its obvious you cant just fake it, one of them would be an engineer on a huge multi million or billion dollar project, but a small time engineer fixing small things for people is A ok in my book.

I believe in some states you can take the exam without the degree. But there's a different desgination for when you get your certification. Like the difference between LPT, CPT, and LCPT on your signature.

BTW anyone can afford $30,000 in loans for two years of community college to get an AA in engineering or computer programming which will start you out at 50,000/year. New bachelors in engineering are starting in the 70's.
 
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He's implying he's a professional with knowledge that makes him qualified to state his opinion.

It's a lot of like the bawsers on here who think they know what's best and what AMD should be doing or what Intel should be doing. "I'm a computer enthusiast...I know what they should be doing" Do you understand the difference now?
I do understand your point, its not that as an absolute, its just that he gave some feedback in an email, as a lay person would.
 
State run professional licenses do nothing for consumers except confine them to only certain people for their needed services, and support only state allowed sources of information. This is a concentration of power, and does no good for regular citizens. It is the core mechanism of corruption. By confining the term "engineer" to only those who have gone through specific schooling, it supports the power of the state run schools, leaving them as the only "credible" source for education. It's ALL a political power play. This needs to be stopped.
 
If you don't have the degree, and aren't certified by the state, you're about as much an engineer as someone who pretends to be a doctor.

And yes there are certification boards for each state that administer test.

If you are applying for jobs implying something you aren't, you should be BARRED from all future employment activities.

Then fine the work not speech if the concern is public safety, someone can say they're an engineer all they want, but if they try to build a bridge with that claim then that's when studying their credentials makes sense.
 
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State run professional licenses do nothing for consumers except confine them to only certain people for their needed services, and support only state allowed sources of information. This is a concentration of power, and does no good for regular citizens. It is the core mechanism of corruption. By confining the term "engineer" to only those who have gone through specific schooling, it supports the power of the state run schools, leaving them as the only "credible" source for education. It's ALL a political power play. This needs to be stopped.

Please tell me you are joking with a side of sarcasm.

Obviously you know nothing. Professional organizations are independent like the AMA. However they have lobbyist to make laws to enforce certifications as to not put the general public in danger. The state is following the professional organizations recommendations. Not the other way around.

Nothing personal but I don't want one person who is not certified in architecture designing a skyscraper. Or someone who doesn't know civil engineering designing a bridge. Or someone designing a part on a nuclear power plant. Certifications are there for a reason.
 
Why the fuck is this even news ?

Some nub says he is an engineer, ok he's an engineer, he could say he is a dog for all I am concerned so wtf is up with the anal engineering court case BS ?

Different story if he said he was a doctor or a cop, but their is millions upon millions of non qualified engineers who beat the shit out of qualified engineers with their home grown skills.

If you had to be qualified to say your an engineer, we would still be stuck in the dark ages with no industrial revolution to speak off.
Look at all the stuff non qualified shed/garage engineers have made...

They didn't like what he was saying so they tried to censor him with a fine instead of a rebuttal, the difference between democracy and authoritarianism in terms of handling public discourse. I think it's important to put the wanna be dictators in their place here for the sake of preserving civilized ideals, even if this case in particular is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Read the whole story, it casts everything in a different light entirely.

He simply made the statement that he was an engineer and that the traffic lights were off and the state came after him, he never used any professional title that is otherwise protected by state licensing:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/...ly-wins-the-right-to-call-himself-an-engineer

Then his suffix "Engineer" should not be used as it has no weight to the conversation at hand. It's like a pharmacist at a party who insist you call him doctor. No, at a party I'm won't call him that. It's irrelevant to the party and it's just snobbishness used to bolster his own self image.

I don't tell anyone my title unless it comes into a professional context relevant to the conversation or someone ask what I do for a living. In fact some people find it "intimidating" or "stuck up" if it's brought up without reason.

Likewise this mans "title" bears no weight as he implies by appending it to his name. As such it should't be on there.
 
I wouldnt call a pharmacist a doctor anyway, just saying.
 
I wouldnt call a pharmacist a doctor anyway, just saying.
I can make remedies using dandelions, including a great natural fever reducer. Can I call myself a pharmacist in every conversation here?
 
Read the whole story, it casts everything in a different light entirely.

He simply made the statement that he was an engineer and that the traffic lights were off and the state came after him, he never used any professional title that is otherwise protected by state licensing:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/...ly-wins-the-right-to-call-himself-an-engineer

An electrical engineer fined by the Oregon engineering board for calling himself an "engineer" and talking about traffic lights has been granted the temporary right by a judge to both publicly call himself an "engineer" and to talk about traffic lights.

I didn't think I'd ever write that sentence in America, but the tale of Mats Järlström is a strange one. As I reported last month, Järlström has spent much of the last few years on something of a vision quest to present new ideas about the ideal timing of yellow traffic lights after his wife was caught running a red light by a traffic camera.

His calculations—which he shared with local police, as well as the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying—suggest that at certain intersections, yellow lights don't last long enough, prompting a 60 Minutes investigation as well as a speaking gig at the Institute of Transportation Engineers's annual conference.

Rather than investigating those claims, however, the Oregon engineering board asked Järlström to stop calling himself an engineer, and in January fined him $500 for the crime of "practicing engineering without being registered."

TBH, It sounds to me like he's been giving the local government shit over a ticket for years now and he pissed people off. Its actually kinda funny that they nailed him with another fine like that.
 
I've held the title of systems engineer at a previous employer, given to me by the company in question. I'm not a certified engineer. I just know a fair bit about how to build certain forms of digital infrastructure. This also means that I have to occasionally defer to someone with a different skill set when there's something I don't typically work with. Personally I viewed the position more as a systems administrator type of position, but I occasionally designed portions of the system from the ground up, so... I also design low-voltage analog circuits that are fairly widely used globally (side job/hobby) which I would classify as a lower tier of engineering.

IMO the only time you should be able to get into trouble over something like this, is if you claim to actually have a CERTIFICATION that you DO NOT actually have. I wouldn't call myself a Cisco Engineer (even though I'm fairly proficient) because I don't have the cert. I wouldn't call myself a civil engineer, because I have obtained those particular engineering certifications. I think the term engineer still applies to some of the things that I've done, or do though.
 
I can make remedies using dandelions, including a great natural fever reducer. Can I call myself a pharmacist in every conversation here?

I can certify you as a quack, and give you a shiny piece of paper with a gold seal. :D Also, I wouldn't really care if you called yourself a pharmacist. Most of the pharmacists I've met know less about medications than I do, and are only qualified to count and fill prescriptions. Not make real recommendations. I'd go to a doctor if I needed a real recommendation. (and even some doctors I've met are questionable in this regard)
 
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