Tuesday, March 30, 2004

License to Code

One issue that may affect all of us professionally is whether software engineers should be licensed. In response to another student's post, Rafael Polanco provided a case for software licensing. What is your opinion on licensing software engineers? Later!

Rafael Polanco's entry:

These are excellent questions and ones that must be addressed. We are seeing more and more applications for software in our daily lives. To me, the future shows us running our homes via the internet using handheld devices. We would remotely control our homes by settingthe temperature, opening and closing windows and shades. Maybe we would start cooking so by the time we get home, the food is ready. We would view moving images from our office or train, etc... These things can be done today!

Software is being applied to health systems more than most people think. Not only do MRI's have to use microprocessors running software but operating room robots have to as well. There have been cases where the doctor performing the operation was on the opposite coast of where the patient was. I believe in these cases, they used dedicated lines of communication, not the internet.

Also, some of New Yorks' borough of Queens' traffic lights are dynamic. Depending on whether the US Open or The Mets are playing, the traffic lights in most of the major Avenues and Boulevards in Queens change their timing schedules. The city likes the way this have been working so much that they would like to roll this out to every traffic light in the city!

The point is that we are relying more and more on software to continue the advancement of technology in many fields. From health systems to civil engineering, software is showing its face so something has to be done to make sure the proper procedures and sound practices are used in their development. In the Dental field, doctors must take state exams to legally practice in that state. I have seen want-ads for software

programmers where the minimum requirement was that the candidate have a high school diploma.

I think that the field of software engineering has to start the creation some kind of licensure in conjunction with the law that allows you the privilege to develop and/or design software systems based on the field for which it is to be applied. I think this is the only way to force more companies to use software engineering. To call yourself a health systems software company, you should have to pass inspections. There are standards out there that are recommendations and to date the only field I know that uses them are in defense and aerospace. This is because the user, the US Government, mandates the use of these practices or else the company gets no contract.

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