There are numerous difference between your average soldering-iron-slinging electronics engineer and your everyday software geek.



Drink: The work area is equipped with a refrigerator which is well-stocked with milk, juice, precisely-cut sandwiches etc. Milk cartons, coffee jars and tea-bag boxes are labelled by the owners. There may be a communal percolator/kettle and a coffee-kitty in evidence.

Drink: Dispensed from machine in return for coins. May have individually owned permanently- full coffee machine and powdered milk (no software engineer could be expected to share these items). When you’re trying to get an extra few nanoseconds out of a tight WHILE loop, you don’t have time to boil a kettle. Fridges are hardware – until they come with Windows interfaces or Linux operating system , you can’t expect a software engineer to use one.

Food: Varied. May even leave workbench to eat! Refrigerator contains variety of foodstuffs, including yogurts and fresh fruit.

Food: Dispensed from machine in return from coins; generally sugar-based. Eaten at computer, much to dismay of IT dept who have to replace crumb-clogged keyboards.

Attire: Relatively neat, even on casual days. Clothes not noted for pungency (except that of fabric conditioner). Knows how to operate a washing machine (beware – empty pockets before washing clothing: usually full of spare resistors, capacitors, small circuit boards, useful bits of wire, scope probes etc).

Attire: Optional. Appearance is not high on a software engineer’s agenda. In some cases washing (of self or of clothing) is optional. A software engineer has evolved to spend 48 hours in front of a terminal analysing 3 Meg crash dumps in hexadecimal. He has evolved to ignore things such as grime, odour, co-workers etc. Anyhow, washing machines are hardware and until they come with Windows interfaces …..

Cars: basic grasp of how engine functions. Cop-out line is ‘I’m not a mechanic’. With onboard computers controlling the engines of modern cars, are becoming to frightened to even open bonnet (hood) in order to check screenwash level.

Cars: A total mystery. Knows about adding fuel, oil, water etc, but otherwise a car is ‘hardware’. With more and more onboard computers controlling engines, software engineers will soon be able to reprogram a dodgy ignition circuit via a ‘Fordix’ operating system and knock out some safety-critical code on the way into work.

Conversation: Tendency to discuss recent advances in oscilloscopes.

Conversation: Forget it.


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