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One problem you overlook is what is meant by 'true engineering.' In order to become a professional engineer you must have deep problem domain knowledge. I graduated as a mechanical engineer, but never got professionalized. If you want a true 'software engineer' in the terms you are talking, they will have to have non-software engineering training to be proficient with the big engineering picture of their designs. Or the ability to pass an engineering exam on the relevant topics to their software project. It will require much more time and money to obtain than even my mechanical engineering took.
I avoided using the word "engineer" for the very reason you provide. However, if this professional organization can guide academia then the word might be able to be used. I'm suggesting Congressional charter.
I avoided using the word "engineer" for the very reason you provide.
I firmly believe that programmers should be held accountable for their mistakes
I don't believe you can have one without the other. The best you can do is probably the current situation where a professional engineer creates the specifications for the program, and the programmer must meet the specs. The full blame falls on the professional engineer and the company that checks to make sure their spec was met. If a programmer in the current scenario fails to meet the spec, and the company doesn't catch this, you are advocating for the programmer to be responsible? I doubt it. Some more thought needs to go into your proposal.
I am not saying you have to get a full mechanical engineering degree before making them 'professional.' Engineering is one of the few disciplines where if you can pass the test (and in some cases an apprenticeship) they don't care how you get the knowledge. At least it was when I last checked.
Engineers cannot be held accountable for their mistakes until they have the power to hold up releases until they are satisfied with the quality. Otherwise you just shift liability off of business and onto people, which is not what any sane person would desire in a professional society. Professional Engineers have the power to withhold certification of a civil engineering project, and thus to demand quality.
Imagine what the world would look like if every major project and every web site had an engineer that was professionally liable to the public for the quality of the code. Imagine if this engineer (or these engineers), and not the company, got the last word on whether the project was ready for release. In fact, imagine a world where anybody at all was liable to the public for the quality of software. This is the thing you want in a professional affiliation.
I actually disagree. I am working as a programmer and just like you, I fancy the intellectual challenge of creating something both functional and maintainable (my main definition of code beauty). But I haven't started this way. I studied physics and my current employer (a co-worker, to be precise) even told me that they were reluctant to hire me but there simply weren't any "real" programmers available. Now, I am actually better in what I'm doing than several people I've worked with who are "proper" programmers. While I agree that there's need for certification in life-threatening situations (Boeing, medical equipment), preventing people from getting into programming in the first place ain't the way to go.
Please note that I am not espousing certification. I am espousing an organization that might espouse certification.
An aside. I too took my undergraduate degree in Physics. I have found that it has given me a significant advantage over graduates with a "programming" degree. Even worse, I taught the core computer science curriculum at Chapman University for five years. Of course by then I had more than 30 years experience in the trenches.
After much reflection, I've come to the conclusion that musicians are the "best" programmers, followed by physics majors.
Ciao a tutti,
Scrivo in italiano per esprimermi meglio, e spero che riusciate a comprendere usando un traduttore.
La parola "programmatore" nel corso del tempo ha subito una trasformazione nel significato.
Quando ho scelto, a 17 anni, che questa passione sarebbe diventato il mio mondo, essere programmatore aveva lo stesso significato di essere "uno scenziato". Ora che ne ho 54, la parola ha subito un deprezzamento. Anche chi sa usare le macro di Excel si propone come programmatore.
Non voglio denigrare coloro che, per diletto o per necessità, si ingegniano nell'accontentare amici o datori di lavoro.
Ma il significato della parola programmatore è un altro. Non è semplicemente la conoscenza di nozioni, saper buttare del codice, farlo funzionare alla meno peggio. E' un arte (perchè di questo si tratta).
Saper scrivere codice di qualità è come la differenza che c'è fra la pizza fatta in qualsiasi paese del mondo con ingredienti locali e quella napoletana fatta con gli ingredienti campani.
Il programmatore "puro" ha una visione d'insieme dell'intero argomento non solo del singolo problema, ha la capacità di essere critico sul suo codice, di esser disposto anche a riscriverlo per raggiungere la perfezione sintattica del linguaggio scelto.
Appartenere a forum o gruppi come questo non fa di per se essere programmatori.
A programmer is ..a artist
I write in Italian to express myself better, and I hope you can understand using a translator.
The word "programmer" over time has undergone a transformation in meaning.
When I chose, at 17, that this passion would become my world, being a programmer had the same meaning as being "a scientist". Now that I'm 54, the word has depreciated. Even those who know how to use Excel macros propose themselves as a programmer.
I do not want to denigrate those who, for pleasure or necessity, try to please friends or employers.
But the meaning of the word programmer is another. It is not simply the knowledge of notions, knowing how to throw out code, making it work at the worst. It is an art (because of this it is).
Knowing how to write quality code is like the difference between pizza made in any country in the world with local ingredients and Neapolitan-made pizza made with Campania ingredients.
The "pure" programmer has an overview of the whole topic not only of the single problem, he has the ability to be critical of his code, to be willing to rewrite it to reach the syntactic perfection of the chosen language.
Belonging to forums or groups like this does not in itself be programmers.
Please, don;t post directly in Italian: Google Translate works pretty well, and it saves a lot of effort if one person translates it rather than many!
I've done it for you this time, but just please think about the audience in future. Thanks!
Sent from my Amstrad PC 1640 Never throw anything away, Griff
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An interesting fantasia of a return to some mythical "golden age," where the degree of "value" could have a universal, consistent, metric ... that was never drowned out by the static of the marketplace's relentless uproar.
I shudder to think of the bureaucratic nightmare an entity which could certify certain programmers might take: would it require deep-state surveillance ? Would it require, like sports, regular drug testing ? Surprise exams ?
I've worked alongside brilliant programmers who had no academic degrees, and deadwood programmers with advanced degrees from places like Carnegie Mellon. I was usually the dumbest person in the room, but ... I had a specialty no one else had (for while)
«Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?» T. S. Elliot
There are membership level minimum requirements and a code of conduct for members.
There is also a guaranteed indemnity for employers/clients if they use the services of such a member up to £2M.
Membership is not limited to UK resident's either it's an internationally recognised body and anyone, anywhere in the world can apply to become a member.
Just thought I would bring this to everyone's attention, as I agree we need standards, responsibilities and accountability for bad programmers and software engineers who can cause mayhem in the world by not being 'professional' ones.
I'm not a professional programmer, but I worked for personal projects starting with assembly in the 90s, then C, more recently Python and Web technologies. This "occupation" helped me in other professional projects (not related to software, I'm a medical doctor) and allowed me (intelectually) to develop a well structured way of thinking. Talking about "professional associations", should a law prevent (or discourage) people from learning how to program or to make their own programs, tailored for their needs?
For me, a computer is a tool and everyone must have the right (== liberty) to use it full-power (meaning programming, that's what it was built for, not just for watching Netflix or Facebook). I've seen very good programs made by passioned self-taught individuals and bad programs made by "professional" programmers.
By the way, what about the Open Source programs? There are a few made by non-professional programmers, but not that bad. How could one "certify" such programs? And what about the use of Open Source in public institutions?
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