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I came across this article yesterday. The author – who calls himself Uncle Bob – has a pretty interesting biography, but that article proves that even the best of us can come up with really weird ideas. I’m not sure if regulating software development is worst than SOPA or not.

After reading a letter from another developer which tells a story about a greedy & careless (like any other) manager who jeopardizes the life of several patients by sacrificing good practices in order to hit a deadline, “Uncle Bob” comes to the conclusion that software development should be a regulated profession. And here is where things become weird.

Who can regulate software development? Who is to say that John Doe is a good developer and James Doe a bad one!? Except the market?

And further more, how will this be done? Through academic assertion? Everyone will agree that this idea is incredibly dumb, as most industry icons don’t have college education. Here are some examples:

  • Steve Jobs (dropped out)
  • Bill Gates (dropped out)
  • Larry Ellison (dropped out twice)
  • Michael Dell (dropped out)

… just to name a few. Who can say that these people can’t work in technology because they didn’t pass some lame tests?

Or let’s just have an independent body – like the WWW Consortium – which regulates the industry. Who will fund it? I for sure am not going to pay a share of my salary to keep some boring bureaucrats in office just to tell me what I can and cannot write.

And what happens with new – yet unregulated – technologies? Can we use those? If a new framework appears, do we have to wait until it gets tested and approved? That could take years, the W3C is working on the HTML5 specs since 2004…

I agree that we all should be held accountable for our actions, but there are enough regulating bodies out there. If you’re developing medical software, then it should be clinically tested like any other medical equipment or if it’s software for cars, the bodies that issue car licenses will test it. The same for software managing nuclear power-plants or airplanes. In order to say that a nuclear reactor is safe to use, the people testing it will just have to test the software also – which I’m sure happens anyway.

If it fails, the company that wrote the software gets fined, the product is banned and the people involved get sacked. And if you get canned enough times, then nobody will hire you.

Problem solved, the profession is regulated. No bureaucracy needed!