e-Talk Radio: Daughtrey, Taz, 31 October 2000


the right to drive an automobile. Now, I think that might be going a little bit far, except in maybe some very extreme cases, where we want to put some restrictions on some mission-critical or even life-threatening, life-dependent situations. But in general, I'd much rather see professionalism encouraged by having professional societies or having certifications. One of the things I know you, in the special area of function points, which is a specialized understanding of a measurement type, there are people who receive training and are evaluated and become certified, being able to do function point counts. And then take a broader context, there are people who are certified to use particular technologies or tools, certainly there are a lot of certificates out there that the vendors of software products, whether it's Microsoft or Cisco or whoever, issues. We're really not talking about something tool specific or brand specific. The American Society for Quality has a certification program, a series of certifications in the area of quality, and one of them is the ASQ certified software quality engineer. And that's been a measure in the last five years or so that people are recognizing that there is quality necessary in…really quality control necessary in understanding how to build quality into and evaluate quality of software.

Carol: Right.

Taz: Many professional societies are also emerging with bodies of knowledge for software engineering that might lead to certification.

Carol: I think that's a really good analogy that you used with driving a car. You could be stopped by the police if you don't have a license. And you could be fined. And in the engineering profession, the same type of thing. You can't seal drawings on a bridge without sealing them with an engineering seal that says that you have the competency to stand behind it. Even for pacemaker software, or air traffic controller software, even with the American Society for Quality or some of the other designations that are around, it's not mandatory.

Taz: No, it's really strange. In Virginia, the fellow that cuts my hair has a license, but the person who wrote the software that controls the brakes in my automobile doesn't have to. Now, I'll outgrow a bad haircut. I don't know if most of that certification is for health, hygiene reasons, whatever. But it seems that there are plenty of instances where at least a master overseeing engineer needs to be able to pass judgment to say yes, this is safe enough for people to depend their lives on the software.

Carol: That's a pretty scary thing. I think that moving toward the professionalism is something that the American Society for Quality has done. And that's going to help a lot. We'll be back with our closing segment in just a few moments.

Welcome back to Quality Plus e-Talk! I'm Carol Dekkers, and my guest this week has been Taz Daughtrey, who is the editor-in-chief of Software Quality Professional. We've been talking a lot about ghosts, goblins, and glitches. And I think that a lot of the glitches in terms of software and the software we've got on the market and the software that our businesses use really can be solved a lot when it comes down to professionalism. If we can get some of this professionalism in place…Where can people phone, if you've got problems with software? You think that software should be licensed, or that people developing the software that is affecting our lives should be licensed, who could people phone, Taz?

Taz: Well, the American Society for Quality, which publishes the journal that I

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