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(Using Clip Art to Help Argue That) Certifying Software Professionals (is the Wave of the Future) Brian Demers February 24, 2000 CS 99 Prof. Kotz Whom do you trust? And how much do you trust them? Your house Your friend Raoul Software Developers Today No common background College grad

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using clip art to help argue that certifying software professionals is the wave of the future

(Using Clip Art to Help Argue That)Certifying Software Professionals(is the Wave of the Future)

Brian Demers

February 24, 2000

CS 99

Prof. Kotz

software developers today
Software Developers Today
  • No common background
    • College grad
    • Transfer from another field
    • Self-taught
  • Training is often inadequate (Or, “Did CS 23 really teach you about Software Engineering?”)
consequences of the current situation
Non-critical systems

Windows

Netscape

PC Blitz

Critical systems: Therac-25

Radiation treatment device

Hardware interlocks replaced by faulty software

2 dead, 4 crippled by radiation overexposure

Consequences of the Current Situation
how professional is software engineering
How “professional” is software engineering?

Deborah Johnson on Special Professions:

  • Requires mastery of an esoteric body of knowledge
  • Autonomy in work
  • Professional society controls “admission”
  • Fulfills important social need
software engineering vs other professions
Software Engineering vs. Other Professions
  • SE could meet all four criteria
  • Other professions fail some criteria, but are still thought of as professions
  • All professionals: obligated to some minimum level of performance

How can there be a minimum standard of performance with bugs?

slide7
BUGS!
  • Errors in computer programs are inevitable
  • …but programmers cannot be absolved of responsibility for serious or careless mistakes
  • …and not all errors are inevitable
why certification
Why Certification?
  • Establish a base quality level
  • Expose SEs to more problems
    • Exposure happens before the job
    • Tests could change with advances/changes in technology
  • Facilitates identification of negligent programming
types of certification
Group:

Capability Maturity Model (CMM)

ISO 9001

Individual:

Personal Software Process (PSP)

Microsoft Certification

Types of Certification
group certification
CMM model

5 different levels of process maturity

Describes “what”, not “how”

“Documented process”

“Monitor and control performance”

“Review”

Does it work?

Great improvements in meeting ship dates

At one company, number of critical defects at ship time dropped to zero.

Teams claimed to experience higher overall efficiency

Group Certification
individual certification
PSP

Devised by Software Engineering Inst. (creators of CMM)

Focuses on “how” – avoid introducing error to begin with

Practice large-scale techniques on small problems

Quantitatively analyze results

Does this work?

Much improved ability to estimate product completion

EKLOC: dropped from 100 to 20

LOC/hr remained constant

Shorter test times claimed

Individual Certification
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Ethically, there is a class of problems which good design and implementation principles would help prevent
  • Certification of software engineers:
    • Seems to help prevent these problems
    • Increases reliability and productivity overall
    • Protects against lawsuits in the future?

What do you think?