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Aircraft falling from the sky ...

This is a contination of the discussion about certification that started in the thread: "too critical of MS" with comments by sick and Johnny Simpson.

First, it's news to me that software engineering is not regarded as a profession.

Second, the comparisons with other professions are not valid because most professions work with well-known tasks and constrained environments, whereas software design involves the perception and resolution of complexity, which is an unbounded task.

For example, civil engineers know exactly how long their bridge must be, how much weight it must bear, what load the bedrock will bear, and so on. These specifications will not change once design or building has started.

Accountants add up figures and charge for it. If software engineers charged at the same expertise * time multiple, we would charge about $10,000 per hour.

Hugh Wells
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Certification is a dumb idea for software engineers for the following reasons. The ACM formally opposes certification too. See http://www.acm.org/serving/se_policy/selep_main.html#executive_summary

Reasons are:

1. Software development evolves much faster than formalised procedures for deciding minimum standards of knowledge. Look at how long uni courses lag behind industry trends, for example. If we had certification in the 1990's, we would probably still be using character mode screens and Cobol, since that would be the accepted and certified practice. See http://www.acm.org/serving/se_policy/bok_assessment.pdf

2. Doctors, lawyers and accountants are certified at least partly to protect members of the public in direct dealings. But software developers do not deal directly with the public; we operate through groupings that provide peer and market assessment.

3. The biggie is that airplanes will fall out of the sky because engineers aren't certified. Well, safety critical systems are subject to far more rigorous controls than certification of developers. In fact, any manufacturer that relied on developer certification would be criminally negligent. So developer certification is irrelevant for one of the big claimed requirements.

4. It's really managers that need to be certified: most problems in software relate to management of projects, including who gets hired and how much time and resources are provided.

Hugh Wells
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Hugh, I gotta agree with you.

First, Software Engineering is a profession and is _regarded_ as a profession.  Sounds like someone’s got a self-esteem problem.

Second, Civil Engineering and most other forms of engineering are piss poor comparisons. Most engineering design work is performed with a set of constraints that are known or can be determined at design time and are often bounded by the laws of physics, mathematics, etc.

Many comparisons have been made between software development and architectural design.  I think that comparison is valid for the software architecture stage of the development, but not for the implementation stage (coding) of the development.

The best engineering analogy for the implementation stage is Manufacturing Engineering.  Both are given (often roughly) the specification for the output, but the number of ways to achieve the final output can vary widely.  As standard architectures and reusable components are to a Software Engineer, standard processes and equipment are to a Manufacturing Engineer. If it's cutting edge stuff that no one's done before, it's up to you to develop new processes.

The number of variables introduced to a product by the processes, equipment, raw materials, and operators/assemblers is very difficult (time & money) to predict. For high-mix, low-volume production operations, it’s not uncommon to see first pass yield rates of 80% considered good. The only way to dial in your processes is if the product stays in production for awhile, allowing time to work on them.

I could think of a dozen more solid analogies, but frankly I’m too lazy to type them all. So suffice it to say that software’s a lot like mix-mix, low-volume production, but most of the time it doesn’t have the opportunity to “stay in production” for awhile - operating systems and equipment are constantly changing. 

Maybe went we get to quantum computing things will stabilize, but until then?

Nick Hebb
Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Actually, the real reason to look askance at notions of certifications by professional bodies is that such bodies tend to function as cartels, and may or may not provide public assurance. 

It's not that long ago that people routinely practised law on a professional basis without any formal education in law; now, you simply cannot, in most Western nations, act for anyone but yourself without being a member of a Bar association, which proscribes a variety of hoops (tertiary degree, probationary period, members levies).  That bad lawyers still happen can be seen (for example) in the number of cases where murder convictions in the United States have been called into question as a result of attorneys who show up drunk, never having spoken to the client, unfamiliar with the material, or a myriad of other causes.

Programming has a low barrier to entry, and I see that as a good thing on the whole; plenty of people complain people without a teritary education shouldn't be allowed near professional programming gigs since they are the ones giving the profession a bad rap, but frankly, I wonder.  My current client is a bank; if programmers had to belong to a professional body comparable to that for most other professions (which require degrees), the bank might as well wind up and return assets to the owners, since its most effective staff are almost entirely those who have no formal education in programming.

Admittedly, I'm biased; I don't have a programming degree, either, FWIW.

Rodger Donaldson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

There have been many attempts to make standards for developers. And, of course Universities and companies like Microsoft do spend a lot of time educating, and certifying people. The universities in general offer courses like computing science, and now most offer several commerce courses with business management and computing as a major. (these are the so called MIS courses). Microsoft has a ton of certification courses.

We could very well in the future require some type of certification in order for one to legally produce and write software for the industry. However, these requirements still in general allow people practice in the industry and not be certified.

It has happened to the accounting industry. In other words, anyone can startup a booking keeping service, and not be a charted accountant. In fact I have several friends that make a living doing this. However, they are not charted accountants, and thus cannot produce the final books at year end for a registered business. This is for tax purposes of course. They can file, and do taxes for a small “sole proprietorship”, but not for a registered limited company. The exactly same thing goes for Law. There are many legal type firms that will fight traffic tickets, and do general types of law (they will even represent you in court). In many cases these companies are working in the field of law, but do not have any lawyers on staff. A lawyer is only needed for certain types legal proceedings.

We may need some more time, as the software industry is still very young. It is only been about 20 years that small business have used computers. Hence, we are dealing with a very young industry. Thus, just like accounting, there are many small bookkeeping companies out there, but they are not registered or certified accountants. The result of this is that they are free to do book keeping services, but for certain types of work, they have to be certified. I suspect the same could very well happen for software.

However, it is quite difficult to define exactly what one needs to have to be “certified” to work on certain types of software. Anyone is free to go out a write a book. Anyone is free to go out and start a book keeping service for people.  Anyone is free to start writing software. Anyone is free to start making nice coffee tables also. You can also assemble and build your own airplane legally! (you just have to place the word experimental on the side).

However, a good company will hire a good experienced carpenter, or perhaps the one that graduated at the top of the local trade school carpenter course. Nothing wrong with that.  I mean if you really need someone to write you a new computer language, then it makes sense to get a CS graduate with compiler construction experience.

There is already tons of certification going on in the software industry. The real issue is can any regulation be brought upon the industry for certain types of work? It does not look like this is going to happen anytime soon.

Without a state laws, then the issue of certification becomes self-regulation.


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Simple reply: Look at all the job adverts. Certainly in the UK, all of them say "Software engineer, knows <topic> <topic> <topic>...."

Where "topic" is something like "3 years experience of ksh scripting" or "must have Microsoft Visual C++ v6.0"

Not one of them say "wanted: software engineer with skills in picking appropriate tools for a job & track record in delivering working code on time."
As I've said before, civil engineers get to pick, within reason, the right tool for the job. In IT, the "tool for the job" is chosen before we get on the scene by people who don't understand the ramifications of the choice.
When I say things like "This project needs source control", I expect people to say "ok, find one and implement it", and not "oohhhhhh... we tried that once, back in the cobol days and it didn't work."

I suppose we could certify software engineers as "being able to work under pressure within arbitrary and unexplainable boundaries without killing managers", but until people start listening to my technical opinion, I'm not going to stand for being held liable for the decisions that get made.
Software engineers shouldn't be held accountable until they're empowered. Accountants get held accountable because they are empowered - they tell you the way to keep the accounts. If you ignore them, the auditor will refuse to sign off the books as a true and accurate accounting.

Software engineers get ordered to write broken software. My other half works on safety critical systems. He's been ordered, against his advice, to ignore some of the safety criticality stuff in order to make the time deadlines.

He could quit, and has considered it, but all that will happen then is they'll work through software engineers until they find one desperate enough for the work to do it anyway, so he's stuck around to keep arguing the case until they let him do it properly. He said to me last night "if I thought my leaving would stop the project, I'd leave, but they're not going to not deploy this..."So is he to be held liable for the results of that?

Katie Lucas
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Nice straw man hugh.

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I think Katie makes an interesting point. Most expertise-based professions differ from software development in that they almost always exercise control of their professional activity.

Thus lawyers work in law firms run by lawyers, accountants work in accounting firms run by accountants, and medicos run the relevant aspects of hospitals. Civil engineers often work in large engineering consultancies run by engineer.

By comparison, any fool can be put in charge of software developers.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I don't think its a self-esteem problem as much as its an elitist syndrome.

It comes from being surrounded by people that 'learned vb in 24 hours' and call themselves a software engineer.  Or people that wrote a db backed website & call themselves a 'solutions architect'.  We need code monkeys, but I hate having to go into a new client & demonstrate the difference a 'real' programmer & a fly-by-night hack.

It's been great for my salary though, so I guess I shouldn't have any complaints. 

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Surely we DON'T need "code-monkeys?" This gets back to my favorite topic. Good developers don't hire "code-monkeys," but clueless managers do. Then they complain about their software.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I think the difference comes from the lack of history the software industry has. It originated (approximately) in the 60's. With 40 years under its belt it's hard to compare it to industries that have been around since the beginning of civilization, such as accounting and civil engineering. Over the generations people realized that if someone wants to design a building for people to live in it must be safe, because negligence in that field could lead to deaths. They have to be held liable. Doctors deal with the same type of liability. Accountants and Lawyers deal with different types of liability but just as important. As the computer pervades more aspects of human life the "software engineer" will become more lable for his/her actions. Right now people are willing to deal with problems in a relatively new industry.

What we are creating now is a profession which might be practiced 300 years from now (albeit quite differently) on a much broader scale, effecting every facet of life. I bet those developers will be held much more accountable because stricter rules will be established by governing bodies outlining what is required of each piece of software (depending on it's use) and who is to be held accountable if something goes wrong (usually determined by the courts). I predict that society will be much less willing to tolerate inperfections if they lead to catstrophic failures.

Ian Stallings
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I agree with Hugh and Katie on some of their points, well, to a certain extent.

"Software Engineering" (regardless of the title) is not a profession, and is not practiced as such, at least not in the same sense as lawyers, accountants, doctors, et al.  I think part of the reason for that is the point Katie makes about the job advertisements.

In this case part of the "enemy", besides the fools that get control of a project, management or not... is ourselves.  We market ourselves... and even take pride in ourselves and refer to our endless division of responsibility sometimes called "specialization"... based solely on the specific "tool" we know how to use. 

Certification isn't going to help make software engineering into a real profession, because certification is merely a certification based on the tools.  Proper certification would be based on our ability to accomplish *something* without regard for specific tools.

For gosh sakes people... even carpenters are selected based on what needs to be accomplished... and not because they know how to use a cobol hammer, or a java hammer, or a <your favorite> hammer.

Joe AA.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I agree that the idea of legally requiring software developers to be government regulated is foolish.

If/when this happens, what remains of the software development industry will move overseas and anything left will be prohibitively expensive and/or so 'safe' and slowly developed as to be of little use. Any engineers planning for the future need to be planning for their transition to live in a foreign country if this stuff goes down.

Has anyone seen what the State of Texas has been up to. If you call yourself a Software Engineer there, you might go to jail if you are not officially recognized by the State. Take a look at their pathetic sample 'certification' exam -- dozens of questions about Texas Statutes of no bearing to quality engineering at all. Better make sure you have someone on staff with a degree from a Texas University as such a degree is nearly necessary in order to pass their silly exam. Texas computer science classes are not the be-all end all of existence to justify this nonsense.

Regulate and license software development? Why not do the same for book authors and illustrators. Regulate musicians too while you are at it. All of them produce copyrighted material.

Bridge and aerospace engineering are different things entirely -- their products are not copyrightable. If we are to regulate software design, we should remove its protection by copyright since it is apparently not a form of creative expressive activity that copyright law seeks to protect.

down on certs
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

down on certs,

You've got a point there.

Neither accountants, lawyers, nor doctors produce copyrighted material within the scope of their practice. And there is no restriction on non-doctors writing books on medicine nor on non-accountants writing math textbooks.

Anything that is copyrightable is a form of speech and is protected under the US Constitution. Government regulation of speech is Facism. That',s what we are really talking about -- let's call it what it is.

Freedom Fighter
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

“Thus lawyers work in law firms run by lawyers, accountants work in accounting firms run by accountants, and medicos run the relevant aspects of hospitals. Civil engineers often work in large engineering consultancies run by engineer.” – Hugh, this is a broad generalization you and everyone else knows is not true. I hear stories all the time about how well HMOs are running hospitals. Lawyers do have clients, I am certain they understand the law and never demand foolish, frivolous lawsuits be filed.
I am ashamed to be posting to this thread. WAA, we are not appreciated. Boo hoo I get no respect. Quit your whinin and get to work. It’s a job, not a holistic growing human experience.
OK, rant is over. I feel better thanks.
I do agree that computer science is very young as a science. Has anyone here read “To Engineer is Human” by Petroski
The fact that I can put a piece of paper in with my software product that says “If you use my product, you have no legal rights if anything goes wrong” makes software quality a joke. The EULA is the ultimate get out of jail free card. Even if my product does something malicious to a random file, you cannot sue me. As long as corporations are not held responsible, they will make decisions based on the market and the bottom line.
Lawyers can be disbarred, doctors sued for malpractice, a Practicing engineer can loose their certificate and be sued for malpractice. Worst thing that can happen to a code monkey is getting fired. That just means they put “Two years language XX experience” on the resume, and blame poor management.
A certification would only be worth anything if the certified engineer gave guarantees. If you had to guarantee time estimates, people estimates, quality (a hard to measure thing), features, and no bugs could you? Would anyone accept your schedule?

Doug Withau
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Steve McConnel argues this better than I can. 

http://www.construx.com/stevemcc/gr-badges.htm

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

This is from Steve McConnell's After The Gold Rush:

"Professional engineers will gain other benefits. The professional engineers who put their signature and reputation on the line for their companies will have final say over methodology choices, design approaches, and other decisions that affect the quality of the software for which they might be held liable. Without professional standing, your boss can come to you and demand that you commit to unrealistic schedule, make short-sighted design compromises, or sacrifice quality in order to get the software out the door. As Fred Brooks pointed out a quarter century ago, it’s difficult to make a vigorous, job-risking defense of something that has no quantitative foundation and is certified chiefly by your hunches. A well-defined profession—consisting of education, a code of ethics, and licensing—will give you a stronger foundation than mere hunches. You will be able to say, "The standards of my profession don’t allow me to shortchange quality in this situation. I could lose my license." You will have a professional and legal basis for standing up to unenlightened managers, marketers, and customers—a basis that is sorely lacking today."

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Yeah right - certification will do all that. All that shows is how vigorously out of touch with reality McConnell and his legions of braying, glassy-eyed, cult members are.

down on certs
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

I dont particularly like that quote from Steve McConnell.  (this response is only about his dreams of 'strong backing' for software people, not about certification as a whole)

Over the years, I (like most developers) have worked on mostly in-house projects. I've designed and written mission critical apps that run large businesses, and I've done one-off projects. 

On my current project, we are understaffed and under an externally-imposed deadline.  Yes, quality will suffer, but it's much more important to my client that we are able to "limp" along by the deadline than have a rock-solid application two or three months later. They are aware that there will be bugs, and are in charge of prioritizing bugs down to "don't fix me" if they can live with them.

So what happens if I could lose my "Software Engineering" license over that?  I wouldn't do it! My client and the ~200 employees would simply be out of luck.

If the licencing regulations were written loose enough to accomodate these situations, they wouldn't be worth the paper they were written on,  and wouldn't give us the strong backing we would need on these arguments.

Sure, in a perfect world we would never have to compromise quality.  However, madating "never compromise quality" would not meet the current needs of most of the industry. 

Philip Rieck
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Phillip,

I assume that if its more important to your client that the product be shipped on time, whether it is correct or not, that you have sign off from your client indicating so.  So in that case, you wouldn't lose your license.

Now if your client wanted bug free, fully functional code but your boss was jacking with your process you could say "I'm not willing to sign off on that".  Then the boss could either accept your decision or keep firing engineers until he found one that was willing to sign off on it. 

Since programming isn't considered a profession by the courts, right now there isn't really anything that could happen to the engineer that signed off.  But, if we were required to be licensed, the client could take action and the engineer that signed off on it would probably lose his license.  He could still write code, but he wouldn't be able to sign off on it. 

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Yeh, it's a pity McConnell is pro-certification. He's a first class software engineer. We'll just have to disagree on that.

Doug, this isn't a whine ( but if it makes you feel better, then OK.) It's a big industry issue and there are lots of people who are going to be making decisions that affect your and my and our lives. From what I've seen, a lot of the people making those decisions don't know the first thing about software development.

Joe AA, it's not software engineers who describe roles in terms of narrow tools and platforms. Indeed, the fact that this occurs is, yet again, part of the range of problems resulting from this being a young, and fast moving profession that isn't in charge of its own activity. Older professions have stable, systematised divisions that make sense.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

One of my big objections to certification ( state licensing ) is that I think it would actually reduce standards. It would make it much easier for 2nd and 3rd-raters to climb the career ladder.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Hugh:
True on certs lowering standards. I am java certified only because it is/was hot. I am not good at java and I know it but hiring managers lover it.

Jeb
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

One thing we can agree on:  it would be very hard to come up with a proper license.

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

One point that seems to be missing in this discussion is that all software does not need to be developed to extremely high standards.  There's a market for Yugo as well as Mercedes.  A missle guidance system vs. an internal app used by 5 people.  You get the idea.

On the flip side, there isn't much demand for flimsy bridges, bad medical advice, drunken defense laywers, etc.

Quality costs money.  Would I pay 3 times as much for the software I use to have the bug count cut by 80%?  Maybe, maybe not, but it's my choice.  I can evaluate that, but I can't evaluate the bridge I'm about to drive over.

How does one define liability with software?  If my car breaks down, it's my tough luck.  If I buy a house that is in some way defective, I may have recourse if the build quality is in the bottom 5 percentile.  But I can't demand that all the corners be exactly 90.0000 degrees.  It's my choice not to spend another 100K on a house that has perfectly square walls.

Software that is too buggy to be used at all is either guilty of misrepresentation (a legally actionable offence) or is beaten up in the marketplace.

Let's not fix what isn't broke.  The market hasn't voted with it's pocketbook for 100% bug free software.

Bill Carlson
Thursday, May 23, 2002

I don't think I've ever considered myself a 'professional' in the sense of follwoing a profession (though that may have something to do with being married to a lawyer that works for the ethical department of the professional body), but rather that its a trade or craft.

I don't find anything demeaning in having comparable skills to a Master Builder, Plumber or Carpenter on the one hand, or a Building Surveyor, Architect on the other.

My wife wouldn't consider Architecture a Profession either :-).

The ethics of being asked to perform, or not comply with safety procedures in developing code are similar to a lawyer being asked to commit a breach of the rules. The compelling difference is that Katie's partner has no professional body to support him or manage the complaint.

Leaving aside the performance of professional bodies in actually pursuing breaches, we are at a disadvantage in that kind of situation because we aren't a profession.

Not many though would wish to pay the dues of becoming a professional.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Bill, I would argue that something is broke whether the market is smart enough to realize it or not.  Katie's partner should have the power to say 'no' and have a leg to stand on rather than just get fired.  If you follow that link to the construx site, McConnell points out that not all software engineers would need certified and not all projects would require certified software engineers.  Here's the link again: http://www.construx.com/stevemcc/gr-badges.htm .

Simon, the difference is that you don't have the same status as a plumber, architect, or a master builder.  Those are legally recongnized professions and those people can be held accountable for their work.  The very term 'master' is usually conferred by a guild or trade union.

Johnny Simmson
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Simon, I agree with you that software engineers are no more important than plumbers and the many other hard working people in society, and are less important than school teachers and nurses on a scale of social usefulness.

Discussion about profession in this context and thread doesn't carry any implications about social status at all. It's more about a role being seen by society as applying a body of expertise and skill in a responsible way.

The definition of "professional" that your wife and the UK legal fraternity might use has more to do with being a member of an exclusive little club where the rules are set by traditionalists. That's not relevant to software engineers or this discussion.

Hugh Wells
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Simmson made the point that only a fraction of engineers would need to be certified.  This makes sense.  On a practical note, though, it's a difficult line to draw with regards to liability.

In other professions, an arbitrary line is drawn and the bottom 10% of work is professionally unacceptable, the bottom 3% is legally actionable in a civil sense, and the bottom 0.2% is criminally neglegent.  These numbers are "pull-from-air", of course.

Everyone drives over a bridge in mostly the same way.  "Difficult bridges" don't get built.  People drive the long way.  A certified software engineer might build the "easy" bridges, with full accountability, but difficult software involves inherent risk and complexity.

As long as there's a line drawn between "life or death" software and run-of-the-mill apps, I can see certification as a possibility.

Bill Carlson
Thursday, May 23, 2002

That's a good point Bill.

There is a big difference between software engineering & computer science.  Very very few of us are involved in solving problems that haven't been solved before.  Yeah, there is always something slightly different about this new bizapp or driver you are putting together, but there is little in the way of invention. 

Those people that say you can't compare software engineering to civil engineering are really missing the point.  Just as a civil engineer has only so many ways to construct a bridge over a given terrain, there are only so many 'proper' ways to sort a list over a given data set.

Johnny Simmson
Thursday, May 23, 2002

"there are only so many 'proper' ways to sort a list over a given data set"

What should the penalty be for using the "wrong" algorithm (one not "officially approved")?

Space Cadet
Thursday, May 23, 2002

No projects or products are as simple as Sort a List.

Hugh Wells
Thursday, May 23, 2002

Hugh, yes, projects usually involve more than 'sort a list'.  I used that as an analogy.  However, you are sadly mistaken if you think that what the vast majority of us do is really all that complex.  I've done driver development, graphics programming, gui development and a few database systems.  They required a learning curve up front, but really there are standard, expected ways of going about things.  Such as, (analogy alert!) not using quick sort on data that is mostly sorted.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

Space cadet, your question is answered in the link I provided.  If you are too lazy to read, please don't post.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

Most problems were caused by the tech boom.  Lots of
unqualified people were programming.  Now that its over
companies can be picky and things will improve.  I've seen
ads from companies that want an MS where a couple years
ago they just wanted a BS OR experience!

The Raging /.'er
Friday, May 24, 2002

> I've seen ads from companies that want an MS where a couple years ago they just wanted a BS OR experience!

Yeah right, I just don't think this will change things to the better. I know we had this discussion in various threads over and over again, but I do not think a MS neccessarily qualifies anyone to be a better programmer. Don't get me wrong, there are surely tasks and jobs around that are best done by people with a strong logical and mathematical background and you have a higher chance of finding them among the MS graders than with the BS or experience only guys.

But there are also many things important in software development which are normally not taught at university (and maybe cannot be taught at all), as well as a lot of the so called "soft skills". It is good for companies to hire only people who really qualify for the job and to be a little more picky than they used to be a few years ago. But if the only way to do this is by looking for diplomas, degrees and certificates, it will not get them very far.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Friday, May 24, 2002

I agree Jutta, especially since I don't have a degree!  Oh well, there loss not mine!

The Raging /.'er
Friday, May 24, 2002

Should say I have seen jobs asking for more experience.  1 company has changed there senior programmer from 5-10 to 10-15 years.  I like that!

The Raging /.'er
Friday, May 24, 2002

Wait a minute, I thought the IEEE was against certification? http://www.computer.org/certification/

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

The ACM is in favor of certification, but not licensing.

"The ITPI steering committee believes if ACM, working cooperative with IEEE-CS and other groups, can establish a good certification program, that alone will be a major benefit to the profession."

( http://www.acm.org/serving/se_policy/selep_main.html )

Sounds like a good step forward to me.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

No, the IEEE is pro-certification and has a licencing program. The ACM's position was formed in response to that.

Hugh Wells
Friday, May 24, 2002

Hugh, that link you provided states that the ACM is in favor of certification, but not licensure.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

The terms are used interchangeably in general discussion. It's obvious that I'm citing the reference because of the ACM's formal opposition to licensing of software engineers. If you haven't yet, you could also read their judgement on the compiling of a body-of-knowledge (BOK) for software engineering.

Johnny Simmson, why don't you move the discussion along instead of quibling?

By the way, are you "H1-B" that surfaced on the Bad Company thread? Same used of "straw man," same relentless undermining of software engineeing. (Code-monkeys are fine, 20 years C experience counts for nothing, ... etc)

Hugh Wells
Friday, May 24, 2002

Hugh, the terms are not used interchangeably by the ACM.  They are in favor of certification but not in favor of licensure.  Licensure involves recognizing the profession in a legal sense, certification does not.  We can't move the discussion along until we agree on the definition of the terms and what that definition implies. 

Now then, for your next straw man argument:  No.  I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, that experience counts for nothing.  In fact, the method outlined by McConnell does have a provision for licensing 'experience-only' candidates.

While I don't recall the 'Bad Company' thread, if more than one poster has criticized your use of straw man arguments, it may be indicative of a problem in your logic.

Johnny Simmson
Friday, May 24, 2002

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