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The Master said, 'Am I indeed possessed of knowledge? I am not knowing. But if a mean person, who appears quite empty-like, ask anything of me, I set it forth from one end to the other, and exhaust it.'
― Confucian Analects
While I agree with your reasoning (it astounds me what calls itself a programmer these days), collective bargaining is not the answer - and that's one of the undesired outcomes of becoming part of a professional association.
I know what I'm talking about. In the early 90s (yeah, before you looked up stuff on the internet) I was an up-and-coming Ada programmer with General Electric. Whether I wanted to be or not I was represented by ASPEP (Association of Scientific and Professional Engineering Personnel). Apart from the monthly sub-par (free!) Prime Rib dinner to discuss... whatever, there was nothing positive about the experience unless you were the sort to not really apply ones-self.
ANY kind of reward system is GONE! Everybody gets a raise, so no one gets a decent raise. Management tends to love this because you can't appeal to them directly or you get something like "Sorry, the union says blah blah blah, and there is nothing I can do about it." or "You know, if it were up to me I'd give you a huge raise, you deserve it, but the union...".
I can see you have the best of intentions and you didn't explicitly use the term "union" but that's what "professional associations" inevitably become. Then they become an organism whose sole drive is to exist and procreate. I've been there and there is no "union" in ASPEP either.
Collective bargaining was never intended. A Code of Ethics; monetary benefits (retirement, insurance, health care, etc.), legal assistance, mediation, etc. was what I had in mind. But the original post was a call for not a proposal for (as noted by another reply-er much work would have to go into the organizing and publicizing)
As an aside, I've been looking up stuff on the "internet" since the early 70's. Only it was called ARPANET.
I intended to mention previously that I agree with you on goals, 100%. But these things get out of hand. The next thing you know the guy who barely phones it in is being promoted just because he's been there too long or you're on strike because there isn't enough tartar sauce to cover the mandated 7 fish sticks for lunch in the cafeteria. And who doesn't like a little on their chips as well...
I only want to emphasize caution because I was part of a system that was too old and established to be changed or removed. To say that no one worth their salt was for it would be unfair because I worked with some truly exceptional software engineers who thought it was a fine idea. But it left me with the impression that there were limits to where my hard work could take me.
To your aside, perhaps I should have use the term "world wide web", but ARPANET, man you are older than me!
Your post makes a lot of sense. You may be interested to look at the 'British Computer Society' in the UK. They accept qualified people from around the world into membership.
Also, in the USA, there is the 'Association for Computing Machinery'. I enjoy the articles in their journal and they keep me in touch with what is going on in technology. Also, they provide access to online training courses, books and have a comprehensive digital library.
Both of the above fulfil the role of learned societies rather than trade unions but I don't believe any competent programmer, software/systems designer, etc., has need of a trade union. Generally, because of their knowledge and experience, they can walk away from bad employers with the knowledge they will be picked up by some other company.
In 1990 I was invited to a membership review committee by the ACM. I had been a critic of the organization for its failure to address the problems facing the production programmer. Yes, the Special Interest Groups had the occasional useful-to-a-production-programmer article (especially the SIGPLAN). But the vast majority of the publications (Journal, Communication, Review, etc.) were aimed at a more academic audience. ACM did not recognize the problem and I discontinued my membership two years later.
So although ACM has some useful offerings, they come with a price too high.
I believe the call is raising a very important concern.
While it is true that fault can come from management, but a programmer sitting on a desk may not have the right defense to say 'no' to things that he or she is asked to certain things which do not necessarily is ethical. An association could also make a programmer stronger so that he/she can defend in reference to ethical standards set by the professional association and with the existence of such association, programmers may not be proactively working on the 'unethical' things within the software. Uncle (Bob) Martin would also agree as he has been talking about a need for professionalism for some time now. HEre is the link about Uncle (Bob) Martin's call for professionalism Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) - Demanding Professionalism in Software Development – Zaneta Baran[^]
I'm not going to call you a programming snob, but I do think you are biased against VBA programming. It's true that much of the programming in VBA is trivial, but some of it is very complex and supports a multitude of business in their day to day operations. Were it not for VBA these companies would have to pay a fortune for bespoke app's and spend large amounts of time doing things 'manually'.
Did I not make myself clear in my reply to Andrew L. Meador? Please don't try to draw me into a flame war regarding the worth of any or all programming languages. Each has a place.
I have used VBA but I caution you, in most of my tasks, VBA would not be the language of choice. Systems, embedded, communications, weapons, medical, etc. software would be, in my opinion, very difficult to implement in VBA. But Excel spreadsheet modules are a different story.
And should the organization that I propose come to fruition, VBA programmers would be more than welcome.
When I discovered the ACM in 1975, I was just beginning to learn that there was much more to programming than just design and coding. It seemed to me that the ACM was an organization that could help me improve my understanding of algorithms and architecture. I was so impressed that I recruited my peers and students to join the ACM. I had subscriptions to Communications, JACM, Reviews, Transactions, and joined the special interest groups SIGGRAPH, SIGMOD, SIGPLAN, SIGSIM, and SIGSOFT. I ended up with more than 25 boxes of publication that I touted around from job to job. There were a few notable exceptions: Boyer Moore A fast string searching algorithm and Vitter's Implementations for Coalesced Hashing. But it seemed that ACM was aiming solely at academia rather than including programmers-in-the-wild.
The ACM offers little to its members in the way the proposed organization would. So although I agree that the ACM was once (in 1975 - 1998) an organization that programmers should join, I don't think that it would perform the services I suggest. Note too that I proposed such an organization to ACM and was advised it was not interested!
If you've never used StackBlitz[^] you should really try it out.
It's quite an amazing development platform you can run right in your browser.
Especially if you're learning TypeScript, Angular, React and others. Try it out. It's very cool and free.
But, here is a weird thing they are doing. If you sign up for their paid tiers, they'll send your web site to space. They're putting an RPi with server and web sites on a rocket and sending them into orbit. There's a coutdown timer (about 37 days away). Very odd. But I guess with the Tesla in space and all this is the new Marketing: Send it to space! Deploy... to Space! 🚀[^]