Sunday, March 24, 2013

How many are taking the Software Engineering exam this April?

As regular readers are aware I've been chronicling events related to the new Software Engineering Exam, that some states are starting to offer as part of a Professional Engineer title.

I contacted the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and asked them how many people had signed up for the new test, to be given for the first time this coming April. Sadly I was told that information was confidential. Answers like that always invoke thoughts of conspiracy theories in my mind, as to what is being hidden? More than likely it is simply a mater of confidentiality. The data probably could be gotten from each states licensing board if you were motivated enough to ask, I'm not right now.

I did pick up a couple of other tidbits of information. The new Software Engineering exam is considered a Group-2 exam, meaning that it has very small numbers of takers each time it is given. Hence this exam is only given once a year. Group-2 exams are required to have a sponsoring society, which for this exam is the IEEE. Do you think interest in this exam will increase with time (Without government mandates)?

The Electrical and Computer Exam, that has been around since 2009, is a Group-1 exam meaning that it is one of the larger exams that has been given frequently, as such requires no sponsor.

There has been concern that so few schools have the required accreditation for taking the Software Engineering exam. As each state board must approve a candidate before they are allowed to take the exam. They are the final decision maker on who is eligible and who is not.

At this point now we wait. We are waiting for the next software disaster that kills people due to our collectively buggy software rushed out the door to meet trade show deadlines and market pressures, rather than properly engineering the software in the first place. That will lead to the draconian government regulations. The framework for the regulations are now in place. As an industry are we going to clean up our act now or complain greatly when it is to late, when regulations are forced upon us?

By the way, what do you tell the Middle School Student that asks "Um, I'm in middle school... Are jobs actually like this?". I've given my answer in the past.

Software Engineering, License to write software, Firmware