As a developer of mission critical comms. I don't think this exam will be very useful, it will be too general and not correctly targeted. Most of the critical errors encountered in our systems are due to configuration or specific un tested (previously unknown) use scenarios. Often mistakes are made by "non engineers", who would be outside the scope of this exam. Developing reliable mission critical systems requires plain common sense discipline from all levels of an organization.
I work with a computer based testing software company and have found that using computer based exams help meet the diverse needs of exam administrators in the academic, certification and licensing realms. Computer based tests provide fair and easy access to everyone. Moreover, enabling the use of computers would improve readability, thereby simplifying the grading process and deter cheating.
My name is Tim Miller and I'm the Director of Exam Development at NCEES. I need to clear up something written in this article. Currently, all of our exams are pencil and paper. We are moving for Fundamentals of Engineering and Fundamentals of Surveying exams ONLY to a computer-based testing format in 2014.This will NOT be online testing, but offered at specific computer testing centers.
Also, at this time the Professional (PE) exams will remain pencil and paper. The decision to move them to computer-based testing has not yet been made.
Have taken a similar approach to completing the online traffic school option offered to occasional speeders in California. Ten years ago, screen-scraped the motorists manual into a single searchable document, and I just run the test questions against it while online at home. Whole thing is just a racket to generate extra fees. Broke 100 mph this morning along the Mendocino coast in an A3. I'll never learn.
Nobody is forcing anyone to take the exam!
But, if you want to be called an Engineer rather than an engineering school graduate, you will have to prove you can pass the Fundamentals and Principles & Practices exams. In my experience, the most of the bellyaching comes from those that never bothered or knew they couldn't. Yet those same folks would never dream of going to an unlicensed physician, dentist, attorney or accountant ... go figure.
GM Samaras Pueblo, CO
It is difficult for me to understand how this could improve software quality or reliability when I deal with software groups around the globe that work together towards completing one product (embedded`- critical) . On top of that they use 3rd party software, open software and legacy software always on constrained schedules and resources. We even struggle to get the ideal software engineering workforce. If some states require licensed engineers I don't know how that would translate to good software engineers. Even if it translated to that, we would still have a myriad possibilities to get pieces of software from other places, and compliance to process, or understanding or experience do not correlates directly to software quality.(For example experienced engineers become over confident and skip process and are the ones introducing bugs).
Here's a thought: Wait until the exam is offered online in 2014, and meanwhile write a program that logs you into the exam site, parses each question and each multiple choice answer, searches the web for the correct answer, then enters that answer for you.
You score 100% by having a piece of code you wrote solve this problem while you are off doing something productive.
If you can do that, you pass :)