Monday, September 26, 2005

Understanding Engineers

I enjoyed reading this essay. Here is a snippet:

It is totally unfair to suggest -- as many have -- that engineers are socially inept. Engineers simply have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.

"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

  • Stimulating and thought provocating conversation
  • Important social contacts
  • A feeling of connectedness with other humans

These goals are irrational and stupid. Experience shows that most conversations degenerate into discussions about weather patterns, the equally unpredictable indian cricket team , classmates and harsh comments about our beloved HOD . These topics hardly qualify as stimulating or thought provoking, nor are they useful in anyway.

Engineers realize that making personal contacts is not valuable in their occupation. For most, it's not what "whom you know " but "what you know" that counts. To be more precise " who knows less than you do" that matters.

In contrast programmers have a set of rational objectives for social interactions

  • Get it over with as soon as possible.
  • Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
  • Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects

These are sensible and practical goals and often a source of great joy as well. Social skills of a true engineer should be scaled by these 3 parameters rather than any nonsensical societal standards.

2 comments:

Krishna said...

A good portion seems to be copied verbatim from Dilbert!

Sid said...

I am not sure if that's just Dilbert, because the footer on that webpage says - This page blatantly copies from other people , but it's not all from one guy. I liked reading it nonetheless :)