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The term 'Engineer' is so widely abused in many parts of the world (such as the UK, where I live) that I may be msinterpreting your use, apologies if I am.

I believe there's a fundamental reason there's distance between the two. I'm on to my second degree in Engineering at the moment but I remember back in my undergraduate days.

One thing you realise quickly when you're learning alongside mechanical, civil and electrical engineers is that if you get it wrong, people die. You can't afford to do quick solutions and fix it later. You have to get it right first time or lives could be at stake.

You could kill several people with any one of the dozen or so robots we have downstairs and poorly written software. When you realise that, it changes the way you program.

I think that the definition still works - you just need to go farther down the scale towards pure engineering, and you start running into things like anti-lock-brake sensor programming, bridge design, refinery design, etc. The constraint "no failure whatsoever" is a pretty hard constraint, and while it may limit a lot of options and take more time and care, it would let you pursue perfection and responsibility to a degree not possible with regular business apps.

Yeah, I had a boss who liked to bitch about how NASA can do all this great stuff that works the very first time. I told him we could too if we had millions of dollars, and accepted the fact that it would take a long time to deliver even relatively simple components. And of course nothing would touch the running system without weeks of QA.

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