The perception of engineering varies across countries and continents. In the United States, continental western Europe, eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Canada engineering and engineers are held in very high esteem. British school children in the 1950s were brought up with stirring tales of 'the Victorian Engineers', chief amongst whom were the Brunels, the Stephensons, Telford and their contemporaries. In Canada, a 2002 study by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers revealed that engineers are the third most respected professionals behind doctors and pharmacists. In the Indian subcontinent, Russia and China, engineering is one of the most sought after undergraduate courses, inviting thousands of applicants to show their ability in highly competitive entrance examinations. In Egypt, the educational system makes engineering the second-most-respected profession in the country (after medicine); engineering colleges at Egyptian universities require extremely high marks on the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Arabic: الثانوية العامة al-Thānawiyyah al-`Āmmah)—on the order of 97 or 98%—and are thus considered (with colleges of medicine, natural science, and pharmacy) to be among the "pinnacle colleges" (كليات القمة kullīyāt al-qimmah).
The definition of what engineering is varies across countries. In the UK "engineering" is defined as an industry sector consisting of employers and employees loosely termed as "engineers" who range from semi skilled trades up to Chartered Engineers. In the US and Canada, engineering is defined as a regulated profession whose practice and practitioners are licensed and governed by law. In some English speaking countries engineering has been seen as a somewhat dry, uninteresting field in popular culture and has also been thought to be the domain of nerds. For example, the cartoon character Dilbert is an engineer. In science fiction, engineers are often portrayed as highly knowledgeable and respectable individuals who understand the overwhelming future technologies often portrayed in the genre. Several Star Trek characters are engineers. One difficulty in increasing public awareness of the profession is that average people, in the typical run of ordinary life, do not ever have any personal dealings with engineers, even though they benefit from their work every day. By contrast, it is common to visit a doctor at least once a year, the accountant at tax time, the pharmacist for drugs, and, occasionally, even a lawyer.
In companies and other organizations in the UK there is a tendency to undervalue people with advanced technological and scientific skills compared to celebrities, fashion practitioners, entertainers and managers. In his book The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks Jr says that managers think of senior people as "too valuable" for technical tasks, and that management jobs carry higher prestige. He tells how some laboratories, such as Bell Labs, abolish all job titles to overcome this problem: a professional employee is a "member of the technical staff." IBM maintain a dual ladder of advancement; the corresponding managerial and engineering / scientific rungs are equivalent. Brooks recommends that structures need to be changed; the boss must give a great deal of attention to keeping his managers and his technical people as interchangeable as their talents allow.
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Famous quotes containing the word perception:
“The proper stuff of fiction does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss.”
—Virginia Woolf (18821941)
“And one may say boldly that no man has a right perception of any truth who has not been reacted on by it so as to be ready to be its martyr.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Genius ... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.”
—Ezra Pound (18851972)