In Canada they seem to have the opposite view as they forbid computer engineers from holding the title of engineer, even handing out fines.
The province's Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Alberta of Canada (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta – APEGA) is at loggerheads with the province's tech sector, insisting that anyone with the title "computer engineer" must be licensed and pay fees for that right.
APEGA asked a court to order one of Alberta's leading software companies, Octopusapp, to stop using the term "engineer" in job titles and postings unless it gets permission from the country's regulatory authority.
This has caused an uproar in Alberta's tech sector. On Friday, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) released an open letter signed by CEOs of 32 Alberta tech companies, including Octapusapp, calling on Premier Danielle Smith to stop the " exaggeration' by APEGA.
The letter states that APEGA's "aggressive position" would result in "burdensome, restrictive and unnecessary certification requirements" for developers and harm the companies' ability to compete with foreign firms for human resources.
APEGA and Canada's 11 other provincial engineering associations have complained for years about companies or individuals using the titles "computer engineer" and "software engineer," arguing that they are prohibited from doing so.
In July, Engineers Canada, which represents Canada's engineering unions, issued a statement calling for people to be barred from using the offensive titles unless they are licensed as engineers.
They state that no person, firm or partnership can use the word “engineer” in a job title unless they are a “professional engineer, licensee or licensee entitled to practice engineering”.
Erum Afsar, director of APEGA, said in an interview: “What we are doing is regulating what the government has legislated. If you use this title, you must register with APEGA.”
The issue is further complicated as "software engineer" is officially recognized by the federal national occupational classification system as a job title.
The controversy has old roots, as the September 2014 Mats Jarlstrom, an electrical engineer who lives in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state's board of engineers claiming that yellow traffic lights don't last long enough. But the state of Oregon fined him $500 because his email stated that “I am an engineer …”
As it seems the issue is not what value one should give to the status of "engineer" but which association will benefit financially from membership registrations and annual subscriptions.
The Alberta Ministry of Labor said the government will work with the two opposing parties to resolve the issue.