Skip to content

re: What does it mean to be a Software Engineer? VIEW POST


Hi Erika,

When you say "the term 'Software Engineer' is protected" in Canada, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean you have to have a certain education to be able to call yourself a Software Engineer, regardless of the job you do, or could someone "audit" the role to verify that it contains the responsibilities required to warrant the title?

I studied as a Computer Scientist (as in I studied Computer Science), but I work as a software engineer. Not everyone with the title have studied computer science. I'm sure in many other disciplines there are similarly undefined titles. For example, what does it mean exactly to be a "community manager" or a "legal advisor". Those roles probably vary just as much both when it comes to responsibilities and education and experience.


Unfortunately it seems that the title is somewhat thrown around which is confusing but in Canada, the title of "Engineer" is protected by law.

It's my understanding that it is illegal for someone to calls themselves an engineer (practising, licensed, or professional) with the intent to mislead a client into thinking that they will practice/execute regulated engineering work. To quote Engineers Canada, an "engineer is an individual who has been issued a license to practice engineering by a provincial ... engineering regulatory body after demonstrating they have the requisite skills, knowledge and experience." This means you have to had graduated from an accredited engineering program, and then registered with APEG for your province (e.g., APEGBC). Within APEG, you start as an "Engineer in Training (E.I.T.) while you work under a superior Professional Engineer (P.Eng) who assumes responsibility for your work. After 4 years, you can apply to be a P.Eng yourself, and therefore use the title "Professional Engineer." Further, APEG is self-regulating, meaning they are able to persecute/fine engineers (potentially revoking licenses) if they don't behave ethically.


That's interesting. I'd like to think that it's also illegal to "call oneself an engineer" .. "with the intent to mislead a client" in Denmark and most other places. But I don't think there is such a body in charge of determining who is worthy of the title.


Thanks for the link! I'll have to look into that to see what the US position is now.

code of conduct - report abuse