Canadian Consulting Engineer

Microsoft Canada defies law and persists in using title “engineer”

Microsoft Canada has reversed a decision it made a year ago and is now advising people qualified from its courses t...

August 8, 2002   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Microsoft Canada has reversed a decision it made a year ago and is now advising people qualified from its courses that they can use the designation “engineer.”
The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) is upset about the software giant’s change of heart, and is warning that it may prosecute anyone who uses the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) title if they are not licensed to call themselves an “engineer.”
Marie Lemay, P.Eng., Chief Executive Officer of the Council responded: “It would appear that Microsoft Canada is bowing to the pressure of MCSE holders and the training and certification organizations who have been capitalizing on the intrinsic value of the term “engineer” with little regard for potentially misleading the public.”
To obtain the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer title individuals need only take eight exams, a process that involves only months of study. A professional engineer has to go to university for four years to obtain the degree, and then pass other prerequisites before they can be licensed to call themselves engineers. Provincial laws forbid anyone to call themselves an “engineer” or say they are practising “engineering” unless they are licensed by the provincial licensing engineering authorities, which come under the CCPE umbrella.
Ms. Lemay said that Microsoft should have know that the term is restricted and that the license is intended to protect the public and ensure that only qualified individuals can practice engineering. She continued: “It is pretty obvious that the certificate holders would see value in the use of the title ‘engineer,” said Ms. Lemay, “But engineering is a profession and with that comes an obligation to protect the public. It is important for the public to know that the term ‘engineer’ refers to a person with a university engineering education and engineering experience who follows a professional code of ethics, not someone with just a few months of IT training.”
A year ago when CCPE appealed to Microsoft to abandon using the “engineer” designation, Microsoft agreed. Now that they have changed their minds, it will be interesting to see what evolves and which provincial licensing body will be the first to take someone to task in court for using the Microsoft title.


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