This little story appeared in The Atlantic in an article entitled ‘Programmers: Stop calling yourself engineers’ by Ian Bogost.

In Canada, many civil engineers wear an iron ring symbolizing the ethical commitment their profession undertakes. The ring is proffered in a ceremony called the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, in which an oath penned by Rudyard Kipling is recited. It reads, in part, “My Time I will not refuse; my Thought I will not grudge; my Care I will not deny toward the honour, use, stability and perfection of any works to which I may be called to set my hand.” (The U.S. Order of the Engineer offers a similar but less poetic rendition of the oath and the ring.)

A persistent legend holds that the rings are forged from steel reclaimed from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed catastrophically upon construction in 1907, killing dozens of workers. Though false, the myth still holds up allegorically. Even if it doesn’t embody it, the Iron Ring’s steel represents the Quebec Bridge, and every other. Engineers bear a burden to the public, and their specific expertise as designers and builders of bridges or buildings—or software—emanates from that responsibility. Only after answering this calling does an engineer build anything, whether bridges or buildings or software.

The full article in The Atlantic