Friday, July 29, 2005

What do you call yourself?

I recently was out visiting developers, some who already used LabVIEW and some who don't, taking input on the LabVIEW Embedded Development Module. One thing that we know is that LabVIEW allows engineers to program a system even though they don't have a computer science degree or haven't spent years learning C or C++. Unfortunately, we don't have a catchy phrase to describe this class of person. In NI's traditional test market, we could call these folks "test engineers" and that was close enough. Yes, some test engineers knew C and some didn't but it didn't require splitting hairs.

But what about the embedded programming market? You can't currently program an embedded system unless you know C or C++. There's nothing else to use except for a tiny bit of Java and some oldschool ADA or assembly folks. Everyone could probably be defined as a Computer Scientist.

So who is LabVIEW enabling? We have taken to calling the folks that the LabVIEW Embedded Development Module enables "domain experts". After all, they have a lot of valuable knowledge (expertise), even though it isn't in C programming. They have expertise in their domain, be it control theory, biology, mechanics, chemistry, signal processing, whatever. Unfortunately, this term doesn't seem to be understood generally. One person said to me "I saw the word 'domain' and thought you meant the Internet". Hmm, not quite what we had in mind. Other suggestions have been "System Architect" though I'm not sure if that resonates. LabVIEW allows people with big picture knowledge to implement the system but we do expect the person to know some low level details of how the thing actually does work. "Application programmers" in my opinion would be assumed to be computer scientists. "Signal processing" engineers certainly like LabVIEW but that's too narrow.

So, what do you call yourself? If I called you a "domain expert", would the label fit? Would you be offended? Does it sound too grand? Not grand enough?

6 Comments:

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Reinis Kanders said...

Sounds pretty good to me. Domain expertise is pretty important for people who use LabVIEW. I have done some apps for manufacturing/test people and it is way harder then for R&D people because you have to take care of the last 20%.

 
At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Tim Bates said...

So, this is for "engineers to program a system even though they don't have a computer science degree /years learning C"

What about just "Engineer"? It includes anyone who wants in and is inviting.

LabVIEW: Lets you engineer what you know, because we do the stuff you shouldn't have to know about.

 
At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have struggled over this myself. "Engineer" is my title, but does not adequately reflect what I do. "System Architect" is what I use to describe my role.

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Domain expertise seems to "internetish" for me. I would suggest "G automation engineer". The G for G programming, and the automation portion wether DSP, testing, or data collection. The process/system will be done with the computer doing more of the work.

 
At 12:24 AM, Blogger Knut E.S. said...

An engineer that is using LabVIEW to do his engineering work must be a "G-engineer" ?!
:-)

 
At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subject expert?
Technical expert?

 

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