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The difference between engineering and trade work is that trade work, like the jobs you mention, either follows a plan written by an engineer, or prescriptive standards designed by engineers (and usually certified by governing bodies of engineers). Prescriptive standards allow skipping all the engineering calculations as long as the guidelines are followed and tolerances respected.

Software development (and a lot of hardware development, to be fair) is unique in that doing it well requires functioning as both an engineer and a tradesperson. One's skill has to cover a wide section of the spectrum.




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