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Old 03-23-2014, 04:23 PM   #16
Germany_chris
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No amount of vetting will stop an insider from doing what insiders do. Bradley Manning was on a mission and had an inattentive supervisor privates just don't need to be exposed to what he was exposed to no matter his clearance. Snowden had a TS/SCI if you've ever been subjected to a clearance investigation you would understand how absolutely complete it is but it stall cannot predict future behavior. The military is currently trying to come up with a way to revamp it procedures to help predict insider threats to the point that there is an idea being floated to scan the online activities of all personnel who have a clearance. I don't know if that can actually be done since there is a push to have everyone have at least a Secret clearance and NDA, secondly I'm not sure it would make through the various unions. I agree that something should be done but I'm also not sure I'm willing to give my last wisp of privacy for it.
 
Old 03-24-2014, 01:12 AM   #17
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for the most part licensing systems are in fact nothing but a form of tax
plumbers it's a tax all work requiring a licensed plumber is inspected any way
same for all building trades all work is inspected
and the license holder never has to even show up on the job
(or ever have lifted a tool for that trade to get the license just pass a paper test and pay a fee )
just pay the permit fees and the tax on his license


the programmers are not the ones who need to be regulated
it's the companies they work for that need to be regulated like M$
 
Old 03-24-2014, 01:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I don't have any ideas about this, but I have a question: In an environment where such a licensure is mandatory, how would open source software be handled, where it is almost impossible (especially with larger projects, like the Linux kernel, office suites, desktop environments, ...) to get information about such a licensure for every contributor?
Wouldn't this automatically close such environments for open source software?
sure dose smell like a way to shut down open source software
 
Old 03-24-2014, 01:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob.rice View Post
for the most part licensing systems are in fact nothing but a form of tax
plumbers it's a tax all work requiring a licensed plumber is inspected any way
same for all building trades all work is inspected
and the license holder never has to even show up on the job
(or ever have lifted a tool for that trade to get the license just pass a paper test and pay a fee )
just pay the permit fees and the tax on his license

the programmers are not the ones who need to be regulated
it's the companies they work for that need to be regulated like M$
That is completely true. A lot of licensing systems (including municipal business licensing systems) are instituted solely to generate revenue.
 
Old 03-24-2014, 02:01 AM   #20
syg00
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Decades ago in a millenium long past, the Aus Computer Society tried to convince everybody that we were more analogous to a guild of yore, and needed to be certified.
By them ...
For a fee ...

Seems they are (also) still pushing the same barrow - see here.
 
Old 03-24-2014, 08:57 AM   #21
sundialsvcs
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I suspect that in the next few years we will find that professional licensure is coming, such that it cannot be avoided at least among project managers and team leads, and that this concept has nothing to do with "the craft guilds of yore." (Incidentally, the business of privately-developed for-profit "certifications" is obviously alive-and-well, as we see every day in the Certifications sub-thread.) Ours will not be the one engineering discipline in the history of the world that finds itself exempt from it.

WikiPedia: Regulation and Licensure in Engineering

AAES: Protecting the Public ... (PDF)

ISPE: History of Engineering Licensure

In the "heady, early days" of computer programming, sure, we all had it good ... working in the raised-floor machine rooms with generally isolated computers that were connected to terminals used by employees within our companies. The first inter-company networks (for what was then called "EDI" -- invoicing and such) were likewise extremely controlled. But today, computers are in everyone's pockets, cars, everywhere. And they are not only being programmed, but the programs are being designed and validated, by people whose only credentials are they say they can do it ... according to practices that are only just-now being codified in an ad hoc manner by military contracting and by various exceptionally-vulnerable industries (e.g. PCI); otherwise, that are not formalized at all. As the public becomes more aware of the amount and breadth of information that is being gathered about them, and about the actual practices that are used to prepare software, they will turn to the same advocate they always use to protect their interests: government. It is coming.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 03-24-2014 at 08:58 AM.
 
Old 03-24-2014, 09:30 AM   #22
dugan
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Okay, sundialsvcs. You've simply ignored every discussion point, and your latest is an "but I'm still right" assertion. So: whatever you say.

Quote:
And they are not only being programmed, but the programs are being designed and validated, by people whose only credentials are they say they can do it ...
This fantasy of yours been debunked extensively. Sundial may be an outlier that it's actually true for, but you've refused to verify even that (when asked). You're not debating in good faith, SundialSVCS.

Last edited by dugan; 03-24-2014 at 12:29 PM.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 10:04 AM   #23
dugan
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Clue, sundialsvcs. Your refusal to adopt industry standard best practices such as code reviews is one factor making in more difficult for you to verify your candidates' skills. The difficulty you're having in verifying your candidates' skills is the only reason you've cited to justify proposing this bureaucracy. Therefore, your solution is improve your own operations, not to call for a new bureaucracy.

Do not try to dishonestly spin this as a personal attack again.

Last edited by dugan; 03-25-2014 at 11:17 AM.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 12:13 PM   #24
Myk267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Clue, sundialsvcs. Your refusal to adopt industry standard best practices such as code reviews is one factor making in more difficult for you to verify your candidates' skills. The difficulty you're having in verifying your candidates' skills is the only reason you've cited to justify proposing this bureaucracy. Therefore, your solution is improve your own operations, not to call for a new bureaucracy.

Do not try to dishonestly spin this as a personal attack again.
I think sundialsvcs' point in that thread is pretty interesting in contrast with a trade that doesn't require any license but is in no way trivial: welding.

Now, it's true that welders can be certified, but that's not really the end of the process. You don't hire somebody with a certificate and some experience, no matter how much, and let them go build you anything of any safety consequence (skyscrapers, boats, cars, etc). Nobody does that. Not a chance. And despite that, the certification is still valuable while being completely voluntary.

The certification gives the employer a rather generic guarantee that at some point you were good enough to complete a task given some process. A license or cert can't do anymore than this. It's incredibly limited.

And that's why despite being valuable, it's not the end. If you're welding on some guy's submarine, he's going to watch you like a hawk, with a combination of sophisticated analysis tools and other employees who review your work. It's not cheap, it's a continual process, and it's not free of any bureaucracy because it's too expensive for the submarine to sink because you wanted to just weld non-stop until you thought you were done.

Despite a hand-wave to the contrary, nobody is going to let you leave a crap weld on a submarine. The "it's built, it's too late" thing is BS. If you dared to put a leaky boat into the water because you were too lazy to fix it or review any work, you're going to sink your project. Nobody would allow you to leave a botched weld holding up a skyscraper: you or another employee are going to cut it out and fix your mistake. There were definite plans for building either of those things, but you're going to need something stronger and more comprehensive than plans to insure the correctness of the project: review and analysis.

The idea that you can slap a license on something and push the problem off into some corner and think that it's going to accomplish anything seems pretty preposterous.

It seems odd to me that the original blog (which seems to have been pulled) was about how we need licenses to magically fix things while the newest blog entry seems to have found a little more sanity is describing the construction of software as a process.
 
Old 03-25-2014, 02:48 PM   #25
Germany_chris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myk267 View Post
I think sundialsvcs' point in that thread is pretty interesting in contrast with a trade that doesn't require any license but is in no way trivial: welding.

Now, it's true that welders can be certified, but that's not really the end of the process. You don't hire somebody with a certificate and some experience, no matter how much, and let them go build you anything of any safety consequence (skyscrapers, boats, cars, etc). Nobody does that. Not a chance. And despite that, the certification is still valuable while being completely voluntary.

The certification gives the employer a rather generic guarantee that at some point you were good enough to complete a task given some process. A license or cert can't do anymore than this. It's incredibly limited.

And that's why despite being valuable, it's not the end. If you're welding on some guy's submarine, he's going to watch you like a hawk, with a combination of sophisticated analysis tools and other employees who review your work. It's not cheap, it's a continual process, and it's not free of any bureaucracy because it's too expensive for the submarine to sink because you wanted to just weld non-stop until you thought you were done.

Despite a hand-wave to the contrary, nobody is going to let you leave a crap weld on a submarine. The "it's built, it's too late" thing is BS. If you dared to put a leaky boat into the water because you were too lazy to fix it or review any work, you're going to sink your project. Nobody would allow you to leave a botched weld holding up a skyscraper: you or another employee are going to cut it out and fix your mistake. There were definite plans for building either of those things, but you're going to need something stronger and more comprehensive than plans to insure the correctness of the project: review and analysis.

The idea that you can slap a license on something and push the problem off into some corner and think that it's going to accomplish anything seems pretty preposterous.

It seems odd to me that the original blog (which seems to have been pulled) was about how we need licenses to magically fix things while the newest blog entry seems to have found a little more sanity is describing the construction of software as a process.
I generally agree and wish I could weld, machine, or program at that level of skill. When I retire I'll work on all three art forms.
 
Old 03-26-2014, 10:47 AM   #26
sundialsvcs
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Several of my friends are welders ... in steam plants. It's awesome what they can do.

Incidentally, yes, I have withdrawn the original post for revision, although there are other posts on the more general topic of software quality and quality-process at http://www.sundialservices.com/blog.html, including the most-recent one in which I did shamelessly copy the notion of welding in a submarine. The licensure post will surely reappear at a later date in a revised form.

The points raised in this thread have been very thought-provoking to me, and very helpful. This thing that we are talking about is "ferociously complex," as well as profoundly important, and as we strive to express and to perfect 'methodologies' for dealing with these things it's always with the sincerest (and, survival-oriented ...) intentions. Failures in the process come from the reality that the process is so damned difficult. The bottom line (I think ...) is that we are in "a profession," and that it has become the profession which today touches more people's lives more directly than any other profession has, or ever could. Furthermore, it's a profession that is constantly evolving, "right underneath our feet" and "on the open waters, miles from land."

I do believe that licensure and other forms of regulated business-practice will come, and are already coming in the form of (somewhat ad hoc, at this point) chapters within pivotal legislation such as (in the USA) HIPAA and Sar-Ox. They're also coming from initiatives such as PCI. But they're now being given much more force by what happened to the US NSA and separately to Target. We can't avoid – and shouldn't try to avoid – the oncoming, I think "inevitable," presence of mandatory regulation in our still-baby industry. We should try to shape that legislation as it comes, recognizing also that it is an international concern and not just finance, privacy, or defense-related.

Thank you all, again, for your interesting comments in this thread. I wished to be provocative, of course, but not a provocateur.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 03-26-2014 at 10:48 AM.
 
Old 03-26-2014, 11:21 AM   #27
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
Incidentally, yes, I have withdrawn the original post for revision,

The points raised in this thread have been very thought-provoking to me, and very helpful.
Not a problem at all. You're doing what you should be doing, which is revising your position based on feedback.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 09:35 PM   #28
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
the programs are being designed and validated, by people whose only credentials are they say they can do it
not at most places.

Last edited by dugan; 04-03-2014 at 09:41 PM.
 
Old 04-04-2014, 10:04 AM   #29
sundialsvcs
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(Say! I've been quoted!)

Ahh, yes, "the Google Interviews" story. Perversely, one of the reasons why some shops use such interviews is to reinforce the notions of the candidate that he (it's always "he") is the smartest kid in school. The harder the interview is, the more he wants the job, and the more he'll put up with while on the job. He will so badly "want to be 'in' the club," he'll do anything once he gets there.

Silicon Valley "plexes" – GooglePlex, One Infinite Loop, Facebook-land, and so on – are 21st Century manifestations of a very old Victorian-era idea: the "Company Town." You work there, you eat there, you sleep there, you play there, you live there. The company's lawyers will help you get your divorce so you can just keep working. And in this way you're probably good to around age 32 to 35. At which point they simply fire you. ("Old Age and Treachery will outdistance Youth and Vigor, every time.")

http://www.businessinsider.com/micro...ll-book-2012-5
... and so on. (Honestly, if you study industrial history as much as I love to, there is nothing New in this world...)

However, all of this is irrelevant to my main point!

These kinds of rites-of-passage ordeals ostensibly test whether you have absorbed so-much content out of a language reference guide that you can quote obscure portions from it verbatim from memory during an interview. (But mostly, they are rite-of-passage ordeals.) These are tests of the skills of the über technical specialist. They are tests in a silo, to find out just how deeply in that one silo you can go. In any case, they are the skills of a steamfitter, not the skills of a mechanical engineer. An engineer certainly will specify that the welds in the steam plant that he is designing must conform to such-and-such ASME specifications, and the steamfitters (highly seasoned technical professionals that they are!) will faithfully do that for miles upon miles of welds. Engineering requires you to deeply understand the forces to which the completed system will be subjected and the standards which it must conform to, as well as the processes that must be followed to ensure that the completed system will never fail. It is not the same as being able to pick up a torch and make that weld. (Although this is a highly prized ... and also licensed ... skill that can take decades to learn.)

Ironically, software systems are much more mission-critical even than those steam plants, because ... software is everywhere. There are millions of instances of it, sitting at the very heart of businesses of every description. And yet, a lot of it is being constructed by rank amateurs whose only qualification is that they put in the lowest bid. Some of the things that I have seen in 22+ years of dealing with failed production(!) systems would strain your sense of belief to the point that you'd probably call me a liar ... and I'd sorely wish that I was. As computer software becomes more and more pervasive, awareness of the risks of failure are also becoming pervasive. With it will come the recognition that software programming is a profession, and with that recognition will come licensure and legally-enforced business practices – not just in "the military," but everywhere.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 04-04-2014 at 10:11 AM.
 
Old 04-04-2014, 11:21 AM   #30
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
Ahh, yes, "the Google Interviews" story.

In any case, they are the skills of a steamfitter, not the skills of a mechanical engineer.
Well, if the following (taken as a whole) isn't equivalent to "the skills of a mechanical engineer", then what, in your opinion, would be?

Quote:
In-person interviews at the whiteboard where they drill the F*** out of you on esoteric C++ minutia (e.g. how does a polymorphic virtual function call work), algorithms (make all-pairs-shortest-path algorithm work for 1B vertices), system design (design a database load balancer), etc. This goes on for six or seven interviews. Ridiculous
Also, stop moving the goalposts. The point was to disprove your premise that "people are being hired to write software when their only qualification is that they say they can do it." Which I did.

Quote:
However, all of this is irrelevant to my main point! ... With it will come the recognition that software programming is a profession, and with that recognition will come licensure
The "logic" that you're displaying hurts my brain.

Again, come up with how you want licensure to work (I've already asked some pretty specific questions that you've ignored), and you can begin making your point.

Your argument so far has been: Software projects are failing because they are being worked on by people who aren't qualified to work on them, licensure will decrease the failure rate by increasing the quality of the workforce, therefore licensure is either desirable or inevitable (you vacillate between the two). You have resisted every attempt to examine your argument (I've asked many specific questions that you judiciously ignored), and simply chosen to keep restating it.

Last edited by dugan; 04-04-2014 at 12:07 PM.
 
  


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