[SystemSafety] Licensing software engineers - care to take a test?

From: Les Chambers < >
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 17:29:25 +1000


Hi

There is a developing trend towards licensing software engineers, especially where they perform work on systems that affect the property, health and safety of the public at large. In the US, software engineers can be certified by State licensing boards if they have an accredited bachelor's degree in software engineering or equivalent, four to six years practical experience and can pass a multiple-choice test.

I have included a summary of what's happening in the US below.

Is anyone aware of similar testing initiatives elsewhere in the world?  

Intrigued as to how you could possibly judge someone's competence to build a life-critical system with a multiple-choice test, I downloaded some sample questions. Given the conversation we recently had on V&V - would anyone care to test their arm on the right answer (as per the IEEE)?

Cheers

Les  

(A) Formal inspections (e.g., Fagan inspections), requirements reviews with
customers,

peer reviews, structured walkthroughs

(B) Project management reviews, requirements reviews with customers, peer
reviews,

structured walkthroughs

(C) Formal inspections (e.g., Fagan inspections), requirements reviews with
customers,

debugging, structured walkthroughs

(D) Formal inspections (e.g., Fagan inspections), critical design review,
peer reviews,

quality assurance reviews      

In the U.S.A. the Software Engineering Licensing Consortium (SELC) is the driving force behind SE licensure. SEs can be licenced if they have an accredited bachelor's degree in software engineering or equivalent, four to six years practical experience and can pass a test. The test specification is available at:

http://cdn1.ncees.co/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Exam-specifications_PE-Softw are-Apr-2013.pdf

SELC comprises members of the IEEE-USA Licensure and Registration Committee and the IEEE Computer Society, along with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

The test is developed by IEEE representatives and administered by NCEES. Refer:

http://ncees.org/exams/pe-exam/

The test is offered by U.S. State licensing boards which have the ultimate authority over requirements in their jurisdiction. Each state may choose to either use the test or offer alternative paths to licensure, such as qualifying for "grandfathering" - qualification based on demonstrated experience in the field.

As of November 2013, thirty U.S. states required licensure for software engineers working on safety critical systems as well as those offering their services directly to the public.

Further details, including links to a study guide and sample test questions are provided at:

http://www.todaysengineer.org/2012/Oct/software-engineering-licensure.asp    



Les Chambers
Director
Chambers & Associates Pty Ltd
 <http://www.chambers.com.au> www.chambers.com.au

Blog: <http://www.systemsengineeringblog.com/> www.systemsengineeringblog.com

Twitter: <http://www.twitter.com/chambersles> _at_xxxxxx M: 0412 648 992
Intl M: +61 412 648 992
Ph: +61 7 3870 4199
Fax: +61 7 3870 4220
 <mailto:les_at_xxxxxx


 


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