Friday, November 23, 2012

Yet More Government Responses on Software License Questions and Study Guide

This month I received responses from Maryland and Idaho to the questions I asked in August, and IEEE-USA has released the Study Guide for New Software Engineering Exam. See my previous blogs on the subject at Do you have your license to write firmware? and Government Responses on Software License Questions.

The Idaho Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors, sent me a formal written response via Snail Mail:

November 9th, 2012

Dear Mr. Paddock:

At its meeting on November 7 and 8, 2012 the Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors voted not to utilized the NCEES Principles and Practice of Software Engineer examination at this time for licensing professional engineers in Idaho, but they may reconsider that decision in the future.

Please call if you have any questions.

Sincerely, David K. Bennion , P.E. Board Chair.

Nov. 13 2012

Dear Mr. Paddock:

In your e-mail of August 12, 2012 you asked a number of questions regarding the NCEES Software Engineering, Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination. Please excuse us for not responding sooner, but I needed to consult the Board in detail to be able to provide you answers to your questions.

You asked if the "Software Engineering" license will be required in Maryland. Maryland does not license engineers by discipline. So no a "Software Engineer License" is not required (because there is no Software Engineer license), However, the practice of any engineering discipline including software engineering in the State of Maryland, does require a Professional Engineer License, subject to the exception provided in statute.

You asked: "Should such a license be required by the state, will there be any distinction made between types of computer systems such as your desktop PC, your Smart Phone or an Embedded System (those that run your microwave and your car)?" The practice of engineering is defined in Maryland statue as including: consultation; design; evaluation; inspection of construction to ensure compliance with specifications and drawings; investigation; planning; and design coordination. The planning, design, evaluation of any kind of software that could affect the health, safety or welfare of the public would fall be included in this definition and be considered the practice of engineering in Maryland.

You asked: "What will the prerequisites for taking the test, should it become required? Software is significantly different than any of the current required licenses." The requirements for taking the exam are the same as any other Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination (see § 14-304 and § 14-305). You also stated that you are concerned that there "..will there be academic requirements that will exclude those that have been practicing in the industry for years, yet have do not have a degree from a state recognized institution" Current Maryland Statute provides a path for licensure without a degree (see § 14-304 and § 14-305).

You asked: "Does Maryland license by comity?" Yes, Maryland does license by comity.

You asked: "How often will this license have to be renewed and what is the expense?" A Professional Engineering License in Maryland is renewed once every two years. The cost to renew is currently $68.00.

Finally you asked: "As a holder of a CSQE, will there be any ramifications of using the word 'Engineer' on my business card or web site?" Only Licensed Professional Engineers may practice, attempt to practice or offer to practice engineering in the State of Maryland. This includes using the title "engineer" on business cards, web sites or any other forms of communications.

I hope this clarifies the issues you were concerned with regarding software engineering and the practice of engineering in Maryland.

Please feel free to contact me again if you need any additional clarification on these issues or additional information.

Pam Edwards Executive Director - DLLR's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing [Maryland].

News Release: Study Guide for New Software Engineering Exam Now Available:

WASHINGTON (31 October 2012) - A study guide for those planning to take the new software engineering exam is now available from IEEE-USA. It includes 40 representative questions and solutions, a suggested reference list and test specifications.

The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Software Engineering exam - PE Software exam -- will be offered by NCEES, The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, for the first time in April 2013.

IEEE Fellow Dr. Phillip Laplante, a professor of software engineering at Penn State University's Malvern, Pa., campus and chair of the Software Engineering Licensure Examination Development Committee, said the study guide is an essential tool in preparing for the exam.

"All prospective exam takers would be well-served to review the book to help identify weaknesses in their knowledge prior to taking the exam," Laplante said.

The study guide is $39.99 for IEEE members and $49.99 for nonmembers.

PE Software exam registration begins 17 December. Check to find out about your state's approval and registration process. See exam specifications at

Just as I predicted the people that have been pushing this have a vested interest in selling training material. What prices should there be on safety?