commentary Early this week, the Australian Computer Society announced its Software Quality Accreditation Policy proposing ICT employees become members of a professional association which ensures they are suitably qualified and to adhere to a code of ethics.

In a statement, ACS President Edward Mandla said:

“Australia is a world class software developer, but we face increasing competition from offshore. If we are to remain competitive and secure our place in the global market, we must be able to demonstrate our professional standards and credentials.

“Purchasers, employers and insurers need confidence that the people behind their projects or services have the professional qualifications, certifications, ethical framework and disciplinary mechanisms in place to perform to the highest standards.”

The full policy can be found here:

This could lead to compulsory professional membership with an organisation like the ACS before anyone will let you work as a developer, similar to other professions like law, medicine and so on.

However, many developers come from different backgrounds making a set benchmark for acceptance into a professional organisation extremely difficult. Furthermore, the industry is always changing with new, leaner methodologies emerging and the processes of delivering software is still evolving.

It also raises the question of how a professional body in Australia can realistically help compete in an international environment. While many are familiar with ISO and CMMI, how many international bodies will pay attention to a local organisation such as the ACS?

Furthermore, how many companies within Australia will pay attention to it? Will it stop organisations like Telstra (which is still owned by the Australian government) announcing another 300 developer jobs being shipped off to India?

While on the surface this looks like a positive step forward for the industry, there are many teething problems that need to be considered by the ACS if it wants to capture the hearts and minds of the 85 percent of ICT professionals who are not part of a professional organisation.

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