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I think there's a class of engineer that absolutely fits the bill of being able to break a problem down to its atomic parts and then show how it all comes together. In practice, I've found many gloss over the details (a variant of the 80/20 rule). In my case, industrial process engineering, I've found many talented, smart engineers develop solutions that trip up from missing a detail that would have been obvious from a deep inspection of the problem.

Of course, you can find such individuals any where, like the parent noted. But I can say that in my experience, engineers tend not to have that level of logical rigor. (Edit - or: 'that level of pedantry')

Note: I don't work with Professional Engineers, which is literally a different class of engineer. Nor am I implying these engineers are bad at solving technical problem - just that such programmatic thought is not a typical tool in their (sizable) heuristic toolbox. At best computing/programming is a tool of last resort.

I'm mainly attacking the fallacy that programming is something special with respect to rigorous problem solving and decomposing problems. All fundamental engineering rests on that ability. Those abilities are fundamental to circuit analysis, electromagnetics, finite element analysis, fluid flow calculation, load calculation, the list goes on. It is a fundamental skill in engineering. In fact, I will go so far as to say that a "real" engineer is one who needs to exercise this skill in order to do their job properly.

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