Why am I chasing charted status with Engineers Australia (EA)?
A mark of trust, skill and expertise.
If I had to boil the answer down, for me being a Charted Practicing Engineer (CPEng) is not about the status. For me, it is about becoming a master craftsman1. Passion is not waiting deep inside us to be found, it comes from the mastery of a craft. CPEng is a step in that direction.
As a society we group up collections of knowledge and abstract them away into what we call professions. Doctors, lawyers, electricians, engineers, etc. We do this because it is not possible for each of us to know everything. We then rely on the professional to learn, understand and further there specific field of knowledge. Growing and peer reviewing new knowledge. When we visit a professional we trust that we are getting the latest up-to-date and correct advice.
I spent the first 15 years of my engineering career on the construction side of civil engineering. Whenever I stopped to think about being a CPEng, my feeling was that Engineers Australia (EA) and CPEng was more about technical ability. And given most of my experience was construction based, I didn’t have the technical ability needed. I recently made a sideways career move and joined a design consultancy. Taking my project management and construction skills and using that within the design consultancy space. Seeing that I was able to transfer my construction based engineering experience gave me the confidence to pursue my CPEng. That with experience comes confidence and wisdom. And that the chartered road is more about the character of the individual, not technical ability. Though it does play a role.
The advice I was giving when starting in construction was that EA membership and CPEng was not going to help my career path. And for the most part that advice has been correct. But as I get a few more grey hairs, I start to see there is a need for more then just a Degree behind people. The Degree teaches you how to learn and provides you with a foundation of knowledge. But you also need experience in the application of that knowledge, you need experience. That some things should only be signed off by people with the appropriate amount of experience. CPEng is gate and a recognition that an individual has the character and expertise to act appropriately.
Because of the abstraction of knowledge, it is possible for professionals to miss-lead or miss-represent their field. As a result motivations and incentives that drive behaviours should be examined closely. That just because you can, does not mean you should. CPEng is a commitment to a level of professionalism and a code of behaviour2.
Chartered status is your competitive edge. It is your mark that you are globally recognised and recognised by the community, industry and Government as Professional. It gives you superior market value and instantly signals your ability to exceed expectations with professionalism and respect.
Keep up date with the latest happenings: