SAN JOSE, Calif. – Only 12 people took the first exam given in the U.S. to certify software engineers working on safety-critical systems, and only six passed it. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is driving ahead with plans to offer the exam again next April while educating engineers and employers about its significance.
“This was the first offering and efforts are underway by the IEEE and others to promote the exam to future candidates,” said Tim Miller, director of examination services at NCEES. “I suspect there was a lot of ‘wait-and-see’ from potential candidates,” he added.
The exam gives a license that could open doors and provide job security for engineers working in utilities, traffic control, automotive, wastewater management and other critical infrastructure areas, backers say.
“I think there is going to be increasing demand from American public officials and the public at large that these types of systems be built under the supervision of and by U.S. licensed professional software engineers,” said Phillip Laplante, a professor of software engineering at Penn State who chaired the committee that developed the test. “The types of systems that are regulated under the licensing provisions cannot be [effectively] offshored,” he added.
Meanwhile LaPlante continues to work on educating engineers and employers about the importance of certification. “I have been pretty busy giving about two talks a month at various conferences and meetings and also spreading the word through publications, radio appearances and webinars,” he said.
The NCEES offers a study guide for the exam. About 30 states offered the exam last April.
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