I am a recent Software Technologist community college graduate. I graduated with honors and I invest a lot of personal time studying computer science topics. I have been recently hired at an engineering firm. I am extremely interested in the company's area of work. It deals with a lot of level elements and I find it very rewarding.
I am the only Software Technologist and I work directly with several Engineers that develop software. The company is very hierarchal and Engineers get big private desks and Technologists work in a separate smaller room and work very closely. I am the only Software Technologist in the group. I find it a bit strange that I am sitting beside technologist/technicians in fields other than software, but I am happy with my work and the Engineers stop by often to provide work or provide some background on the next big project. I am comfortable with this and I understand and respect the company structure.
However, the company has done some reorganizing within the building and many people have been shifting around. People have been working where ever there is room. I have been temporarily moved into a room with the other software developers, all of whom are engineers.
Today, an engineer (non software) popped in our office and pronounced that the company's boss had gone around and asked everyone where they were sitting. As the story goes the boss of the company asked one member where he was sitting and then laughed at him. The engineer proceeded to say "he [the member that was laughed at] says he has more experience, but we're engineers, not common folk". (Quoted as accurately as possible) He continued to boast a bit more. This was said in front of me and my peers. I vividly recall one Engineer laughing, I am not sure about the others. My boss was also in the room. I felt very degraded and I regret not saying anything.
How would you take this situation? I really enjoy my work. As a software technologist, I feel extremely lucky to be working in an engineering environment. I feel betrayed by my software peers and my boss.
Let me say first and foremost I understand that I am a junior employee and I will given a support role which includes jobs that senior developers do not want or have time for. I am very comfortable with this and I look at it as a great learning experience. However, I worry that if I stay with this company long enough they will eventually hire another engineer who will automatically trump me. If the engineers really feel that I am a "common folk", I do not want to work there. I recognize that they are Professional Engineers and they have put a lot of significant time into their degree, and I have a lot of respect for that.
I have several questions:
- What should I do about the overall disrespect and how should I handle it?
- How do you feel knowing that your experience will mean very little to a company with respect to a newly minted engineer? (This is not an immediate concern but a long term concern. I am very interested in pursuing additional courses and education but I doubt I will be able to take time to upgrade to a degree.)
- What should my long term goals be? (I really enjoy low level programming and working in instrumentation and electronics.)
For clarification, an engineer has a Professional Engineering degree from a certified University. I am not sure about other Countries but in Canada you must be from a certified University to get a Engineering Degree. An Engineering degree ranges from Civil, Mechanical, Electrical-Software, etc. These people have a BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) opposed to a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSci (Bachelor of Science). A technologist is a graduate from a Community College which is a 3 year diploma program.