The entire Distinguished Engineer program needs to be re-evaluated. Such an antiquated and irrelevant concept for today, not to mention rife with favouritism. It’s hardly an honour to receive anymore.
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i know a few DE's that really should not be there they just played the game. one was no where to be seen or heard for 2 years before we then found out he'd just be working at getting DE - did nothing for ibm in that time
Once the DE program was opened up to India, it lost all credibility.
I would always dread a project with a DE. It was already bad enough you had layers of management who didn't contribute, multiple PMs who didn't contribute. Then you add another person who doesn't contribute anything except emails with a signature and an ego.
It's a tale of two programs. There are deserving people who manage to earn it, but there's also protected classes who are promoted based on that class and only mediocre work. Put it bluntly, white guys over 50 need not apply.
To be clear, It's always been political, and always will be. It's based far more on your political network and the particular flavor of social justice du jour than any technical merit.