In the beginning there were punchcards.
When Assembler was born, people happily learned it.
Later on they were happy to change to C and C++.
After C++ there was C#. Again, people were happy to change.
After C# there'll be ... well, I don't know, but as history tell us, it will probably be better than C#.
If I could go back I wouldn't do the computing straight away. I seem to have the right basic talents and abilities (and all that childhood programming practice). I'd have been a singer (my other main talent) and then done the degree/got into computing later in life. I have met several people who have done a similar thing (after being in the Army, for example) and they seem do do just fine...
I'd have been a singer (my other main talent) and then done the degree/got into computing later in life.
There was a fellow that worked with me a few years ago that was a good guitarist and a very good EE/SW guy. He made friends with a singer in a famous 70's rock band (before the resurgence of 70's music). One day the singer called him and asked him to tour as a guitarist and the tech manager. He did that for about 6 months and then came back to work with us. Before he came back, I was able to see he play with the band when they had a local concert (it's kind of fun to say "I'm with the band").
When he came back he said it was because he got sick of the road and the way band members treated their support crew (probably more of the latter). But not long after that he got a job at a company that focuses on HW/SW for music, movies and home theater.
So it's possible to have it both ways. Apparently touring with a famous band as a guitarist is a good resume builder for some entertainment oriented HW/SW companies.
...I could have done it too but my parents coerced me into engineering when I was making my college choices. Once you've graduated and got a job/mortgage/wife/family etc. it's very difficult, if not impossible, to stop working and re-train for some other profession.
It's not that I dislike the job - I actually love what I do - but I can't help feeling that (in the UK at least) engineers are looked upon as geeky second class citizens, a necessary evil if you like and the subject of many nerdy jokes. In fact, I often avoid getting into discussions with people about my chosen profession because as soon as I say 'Software Engineer' their eyes glaze over and they change the subject as soon as possible. If I'm lucky they'll refrain from some joke about 'shift registers' or 'The IT Crowd' on Channel 4. I wouldn't mind but just about everybody in the developed world (and quite a few people in developing countries too) use electronics developed by us poorly paid second class geeks, so where's the pay/respect?
The only way to really get paid in this profession is to go it alone as a freelancer, but it takes a lot of different qualities to take that plunge, many of which most people don't have.
And, I swear it's not as bad as you think it is. Everytime I tell people I'm an electrical engineer, I kind of wince (presumably expecting a blow to the head or something, dunno) but really, it's not too bad - they usually ask me how I got into it etc.
Actually, I sort of think of it as making a living helping sick people.
Maybe I look at it slightly differently here in the UK. We have a publicly funded National Health Service, and the vast majority of people would agree that it's a good system (although everyone would agree that it has its problems) and as far as know it's never been responsible for impoverishing entire families - in fact it's supposed to provide largely free health care to everybody, no matter what their financial situation.
... heads up! I might still be a bit too naive for the harsh *real* world since I am currently doing my master studies (aeronautical engineering, focus on control systems) but I feel quite a bit proud of what I do. Even if my on the job experience is somewhat limited at this point.
My mother is a doctor in fact, but still I feel that I am doing exactly the thing I am most capable of. I must agree that the public reputation of engineers is not comparable to doctors but still: people do need us even if they might not realise it.
To me, it seems as if I should simply *assume* respect for the engineer's work quietly. So whenever our beloved politicians do their "Europe's only natural resources is it's brains" speech I can't resist remembering our foreign trade balance that is made up by *our* machines and technology - and everything is fine.
As long as my own family respects me few things may really touch me. At least this is my attitude.
You raise some good points, but it has to be said that engineers have a much better reputation in your country. Germany is world-renowned for the quality of its engineering (rightly or wrongly, but that's another subject) and so I guess that engineers are a source of national pride. I just find it disappointing that it's not the case in the UK too.
I can understand how u feel, but we have to understand every one can not be a doctor. Software Engineer is every where in today's life even in doctor profession to, even i have made software for doctor. When people start asking me when good for your profession i give them numbers of use of Software Engineer. I really proud what i do. And Every Software Engineer should also be.
Having been told at the age of 30 that I did not have tha aptitude to be a programmer (perhaps I could not read punch cards?), and not having taken up programming until age about 40, if I knew what I know now I would have taken it up at age 5 - had computers (on the desktop) been available. I am now nearly 61 by the way.