|What a disgusting premise! The computing industry has been a major boom because people can get into it and develop what their imaginations can create. Stifling this with BS licenses and then ensuing regulatory legislation that would not be far behind would slam the brakes on this.
What a ridiculous comment that people using higher level programming languages aren't programmers - such a narrow point of view. Do you really need to dig into the depths of C to write a front end application heavy in reporting functions? With your experience you should know and see that certain languages are better suited for different tasks. This kind of elitist mindset is one good reason for not having certifications and regulations.
Any manager worth their salt who is in charge of hiring can cipher out a skilled programmer vs a newbie or someone that knows enough to "look" good - but are not capable of the job at hand - and "technical currency" can then be determined. If they are a junior level programmer - then pay them as such - and pay a senior level programmer accordingly. Experience and actual knowledge do matter - but a license DOES NOT guarantee the quality of either of these.
I have spent the last few years substantially remodeling my house. I have studied local and state building code, building standards for residential building code, electrical/plumbing codes, studied architectural and structural engineering, etc... to make sure it is done right. What I have learned is that MANY of the local builders who are certified/licensed in many cases don't know what they are doing and/or are intentionally doing poor work. I see their projects, in progress and completed, and can point out the flaws with will cause problems in the short and/or long term - yet they are licensed and I am not.
My wife is a teacher - requiring college degrees, licensing, passing of licensing tests, etc... and we could both write you a book on the stupidity that manages to make its way into the classroom.
Licensing only puts barriers in the way for those interested in going into the field and eliminates great talent that will go in another direction instead of hopping though the red tape hoops. Sure you may filter low quality programmers out - but at such great expenses. Protected industries are insane and should be abolished across this county/world. An look at the education system. I have reviewed so many Computer Science degrees from multiple colleges where the amount of programming, the level of difficulty, and real world use is abysmal. In so many of these college tracts - a person coming out of them can't even write a simple program to produce a printed report. Surface level BS - but they think because they have that degree, and are told that they are now professionals - they think they are - but really!?!?
I have a programming degree - but I was self taught before that. The degree was for job purposes only. I learned almost nothing new in the process and in many cases taught the professors more than I learned. Those PhD's heading up the classes/department couldn't preform real world application of the theory they 'teach'. I ran into a complicated problem at a job shortly after graduating and I approached the PhD head of the department (who became a friend while working on my degree) and she had no clue as it didn't fit the clean theory world she worked in. I also have 5 or so certifications - some thing there. It may show you can get through some classes and that you can grasp the concepts, but that doesn't mean you can take it into real world and succeed. I scored high on my certification exams and on my programming degree - but saw other that didn't but managed to pass - and then on paper - what's the difference between them and me? Again, licensing, degrees, certifications are not the answer.
And as to holding programmers legally liable - that's a can of worms that makes my head want to explode. One, if a programmer did something wrong in their code and it resulted in deaths - do you honestly believe that the courts are not able to touch them now? BS! Of course they can. If a programmer writes code that causes major financial issues - if they are working for that company - they will be fired. Who would be ultimately responsible in that case anyway - the employer themselves - so, what - sues themselves? If the programmer is working as a contractor or for an IT company and they did the work for the company that took the loss - they could sue them. If their contracts don't allow that - then who's fault is that? Don't sign stupid contracts.
I have always likened computer work - hardware, software, programming, etc... in total to the to being a doctor of the human body. There is an insane amount to know, many working parts, many integrated and interrelated parts, different stages of development, many systems involved, etc... Even medical specialists, who are not elitist self deluded snobs, know they don't know it all and there is more to learn. How many doctors are successfully sued for medical mistakes and are found guilty? By number - probably a lot - by percent - very small. It's very difficult to prove they made an egregious error worthy of a winnable suite vs unforeseeable circumstances. And yes, I know they are licensed - but my point is that even so - even if they make mistakes - proving it and doing something about it are another matter (and yes, I have MANY stories of the incompetence of those licensed PhD doctors as well). How much testing should be done before being good enough? What about when your code is fine - but a CPU flaw is at the root of the failure? Could that have been figured out via testing? By REALLY DEEP testing? At what point could the programmer still take the blame even though his code SHOULD have been fine?
What responsibility does the customer of the code have - should they just assume it works and run with it without their own testing? Should they assume it will work as stated and not have any backups of critical records, systems, etc...?
How many serious programs have hundreds of thousands of lines of code - and even millions? Who is responsible? Many developers creating interrelated code/calls. If the code is 'correct' - but to incorrect specs - do they still get nailed because they should have tested it enough to figure that out and get the specs updated by those above them? What about the project manager? If they developed the specs that failed - should they be nailed - or the expert licensed programmer that didn't get the project manger to correct the specs after testing exposed the issue - or if the programmer didn't test enough to pick up on the incorrect spec? Who's at fault?
How about open source code? Write some code and put it out there for people to use, learn from, etc... but has a flaw - go after the programmer/group who put it out for free? It could still cause injury, death, monetary/resource/time loses. Or book authors... I have yet to read a book on coding that didn't have errors in the code in the book. How many thousand page long books do you think you can find that don't have spelling errors, grammar errors, incorrect concepts, etc (syntax errors, logic error, etc...) THAT is a major reason why going after programmers is a difficult venture (no that it can't be done now) - but that it is difficult to pin it on one persons and even if you could - intent also matters. And again - what would licensing have to do with stopping this or to make it any easier to pin failures on the right person(s).
Blah, blah, blah.
Or, how about people be able to learn, write, and put out code that is within their capabilities to produce - with the users of the software making sure it meets their needs and works (via testing). And, companies employing competent managers that can find programmers of the skill level they truly need - and fire them if someone manages to wiggle through the initial interviews and interview tests. Licensing proves nothing. Let freedom be the basis of this industry to promote new minds, new ventures, new ideas, etc...