from the put-your-business-head-on dept.
Jon Evans writes at TechCrunch that some extremely successful companies, notably Facebook and Google, are famously engineer-centric, and many, many engineers go on to become successful CEOs. But at many companies engineers are treated as less-than-equal because they are often viewed as idiot savants. "We may speak the magic language of machines, the thinking goes, but we aren’t business people, so we aren’t qualified to make the most important decisions. That’s for the analysts, the product people, the MBAs. They might throw money our way, but they don’t take our opinions seriously, at least not the ones they understand."
Michael O. Church, describes the different experiences of the same candidate applying for a position of “Senior Software Engineer” vs. “VP of Data Science,” a managerial position. "As an engineering candidate, he faced five gruelling technical interviews and was arbitrarily vetoed by the last interviewer. As a managerial candidate, he essentially chatted his way through behavioral questions–and was offered a lucrative position with a generous relocation package. Church argues that this difference is because engineers have low social status, whereas even managerial candidates, one they’ve proven they can talk the talk, are viewed as equals."
Evans says it’s an inevitable side effect of companies who boast completely non-technical managers. "People who have never written code or soldered diodes, who don’t really understand what and how engineers do what we do, have no alternative but to have blind faith in us. Which, paradoxically, leads to less respect, because it’s the root cause of idiot-savant syndrome," writes Evans. "f you’re an engineer who’s treated as automatically lesser than an business graduate or MBA, or worst of all, treated as a cloistered savant, that’s a warning sign. Consider your future carefully if so."