The Computer Engineers Was Climbing into The Ring by The Regulation of The Sector: in Favour and against

At the beginning of the month of June on a hashtag, #InformaticaSolucionYA, became a gap between the trending topics of Twitter in Spain and returned to front public page the issue of the regulation of the professional responsibilities of computer engineers (or the lack of it, rather).

The issue of whether the computer should be a regulated profession dragging for a long time; positions both for and against are very conflicting. We are going to role up our sleeves and try to shed some light on an issue that has been years cystic on the following lines.

A bit of history

We could go back to much earlier, but perhaps a good place to start would be approval in 2008 (being the Socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero President of the Government) of the Royal Decree 1837 / 2008 regarding the recognition of professional qualifications (you can read it, if you have a long time, in the Official Gazette).

In this Decree, in the Annex VIII specifically, listed professions and regulated activities in Spain and is said expressly that “professions and unregulated activities are understood to be of free exercise and, therefore, do not require any recognition”.

We can go to the adoption in 2008 of the Royal Decree 1837 / 2008 regarding the recognition of professional qualifications

In that annex VIII of the Decree listed the following Engineering: Aeronautical engineer, agronomist engineer of armament and materiel, engineer of naval weapons, civil engineer, channels and ports, engineer of construction and electricity, mining engineer, Ingeniero de Montes, telecommunications engineer, Industrial Engineer and Naval and oceanic engineer. No trace of the computer engineer.

If we look at the technical engineering including, we find a similar scenario: technical aeronautical engineer (in its different specialties), agricultural engineer, mining engineer technician, technical engineer of public works, technical engineer of telecommunications, technical engineer in topography, forest engineer, Industrial Engineer, Naval engineer. Again no trace of any of the specialties of the technical engineering in computer science.

Talks at universities, concentrations in front of the Ministry… a part of the sector, both from the professional field and, above all, the student was on war footing in this situation until in February 2015 the Congress of Deputies unanimously approved a proposición no de ley urging the Government to seek regulation of the functions of technical engineers in computer science and computer science engineers (you can see the debate in the Committee on education and sport that led to the adoption of this NLP under these lines).

However since then there has been no movement in this regard, but rather to the contrary: the Government is working on a draft of the update of the Real Decree 1837 / 2008 and the computer engineering will still be included in the same.

Which four organizations, the General Council of colleges, engineering professionals in Informatics (ICCI), the General Council of official colleges of engineering in computer science (CONCITI), the meeting of students of engineering techniques and superior of Informatics (RITSI), and the Conference of Directors and deans of Engineering Informatics (CODDII) were pooled to send a letter directly to the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy between other protest measures.

Information technology regulation: Civil War

Regular or non-regular, that is the question. For Juan Lupión (@pantulis), CTO of The Cokctail, “there are many interpretations about what is the regulation of the sector, but if it comes to restrict access to certain jobs based on the qualifications, my stance is clearly against. The presence of a restriction of this type generates a group of power that ultimately is going to impose their interests against the rest of the actors, which collides with the constant evolution which presents the world of technology”.

John continues: “I understand the attraction for the graduates but I don’t see the advantage for the sector, where over the years I have seen many non-degree done a professional job of equal or higher quality than graduates. Do not find me it difficult to think of a lot of colleagues who are a few authentic cracks and not even have finished the race. As a group, if we ignore this type of profiles, I think us empobrecemos. In addition, if we list the powers that an engineer should have with precision and accuracy, not we would find perhaps there are not enough jobs of this type for all engineers? “And remember that few professions are so easy to relocate as ours: If you want to improve your working conditions, must be very aware that there is a kid in Bulgaria, Morocco or Argentina currently being batteries to do the same to you”.

“Don’t want to try to please but equal opportunities with the rest of engineering” via @efeescuela #InformáticaSoluciónYA

— Andres Caro 22 June 2016 (@_AndresCaro_)

But, What advantages does the professional qualifications of engineers in computer science are regulated? Francisco Jesús Martínez (@franjmartinezm), PhD in computer science and College, says that: “the main advantage is that of professional recognition. Today a computer engineer has 0 professional recognition. People don’t understand really what we do. Think that we are “Hackers”, that is dedicated to “hack” software, that we we spent the day playing the “Martians” and we dedicate ourselves to fix the computer, mobile, coffeemaker, washing machine, etc. “And as there are so many people that”knows”making programs, apps and websites without having studied because”it is very easy to”do them, by the way, so they use software tools (designed by computer engineers), because every day we are going from bad to worse and our reputation is increasingly on the floor”.

“It’s not me hard to think of a lot of colleagues who are a few authentic cracks and not even have finished the race”

If we remember the article we publish in this House a few weeks about the programmers of more than 50 years ago, those interviewed had a very similar view in terms of the loss of prestige of the profession with the passage to the mainstream and the professionals of other areas-call effect. However there are views contrary to this (and they are not few), as it is the case of Daniel Ortega (@dortegau), software engineer, and for which “we are perhaps making a mistake in wanting to call us engineers and maybe that is why we are asking for measures have no application in our field. Not we can continue trying to compare the construction of a bridge or a building with the development of the software because they have little or nothing to do. Ricardo Galli explained it very well in this post”.

“Advantages” continues Daniel “with regulation may occur when access to a place in the public administration, but this is something that does not interest the vast majority. To measure the disadvantages we should first know that kind of projects would be likely to be visas. There is much misinformation on the subject”.

Of course we are talking about antagonistic positions, almost a civil war in all rule. Peter thorn He is the Dean of the Professional Association of engineers in computer science of Andalusia (CPIIA) and faced the same question answered us the following: “I see a clear immediate advantage, perhaps not so much to the current professional, but to the future. It is the guarantee that the title will be basically the same in all the universities in Spain. Currently each University can design the title of engineer in computer science (either degree or master) that come you in wins, hindering the recognition of the profession to social and business level. There is an agreement of the Council of universities of 2009 should avoid this spread, but is not mandatory for all universities”.

“The regulation of the profession in Spain also facilitates international mobility, to facilitate the recognition of the profession.
“Another clear advantage would be the elimination or considerable decrease of the professional intrusion, i.e. the activities regulated only could make them certain professionals and not anyone”, continuous Pedro and returns to skip a topic already veteran developers of the article which we referred putting on the table.

«I am an intruder computer and you engineer I’m removing work» —@patxangas

— Medium in Spanish (@MediumEspanol) June 27, 2016

But, is it true that there is so much intrusion? For Francisco Jesús Martínez: “Much, much. As Joaquín Sabina says in his song, “around every corner make you Web pages”. Any consultant of Informatics, of those who say that they are computer engineering, tend to have in your template designing software to industrial engineers, telecoms or programmers FP. So then comes out software that comes out! Without any standard of quality, with thousands of errors and an inflated price and that has little to do with the actual cost. The consulting firms of this type are those that are profiting today, leaving in the wrong place to the profession. Why not regulation, interested since maybe they had to pay more money for true professionals and then thumping profits would be depleted”.

Less drastic is Daniel: “If the question is about whether I think there are many people without title in computer engineering… Yes, there are it. There are many people who have not finished the race or even have not yet started it. In my case, I met a person who began the career in medicine, and with an impeccable record left her approximately half. Later he formed an autodidact and worked in companies considered drop-outs (Tuenti, idealistic, Spotify, New Relic…). “Others of my fellow Members have studied FP, others are”Telecoms”(Yes, considered”enemies”)…”.

Juan is expressed in similar way: “with respect to intrusiveness: for my engineer is the practice of engineering, who exerts not who has a title.” I love me my profession which anyone can contribute knowledge and ideas without further effort which can spend at home reading and forming in all sorts of materials of technological cutting. If you can demonstrate these skills in an interview, why would he be an obstacle the titling or not? Eye that this does not mean to see titling as something useless, on the contrary: I am computer engineer and I see the University as a sort of accelerator in the acquisition of knowledge then you are going to have to expand Yes or Yes because for my main characteristics which make a good engineer is not taught at the University “, things like teamwork, communication capabilities and above all the adaptation to change”.

For my engineer is the practice of engineering, who exerts not who has a title – Juan Lupión

Continuing the theme of the intrusion, to Peter thorn, on the other hand, “then Yes, from professional”close”as telecommunications engineers, mathematicians, they can be engineers industrial, up to graduates from any field (geographers, lawyers, doctors, architects, lawyers, people without qualifications).” Many defend the liberalization of professional services, if there is no attribution or activity in any field reserve, would agree, but what is not fair is that other professionals have powers and the software engineers do not have them, and not because it is not necessary or beneficial to society, but by economic interests of other professional groups that they prefer to “invade” our professionally to devote himself to his, in which there is less employment”.

A solution I want to

What is claimed from the part of the related regulation field is the end of a situation that is taking. For them, obviously, the solution is to regulate, as it is the case of the Dean Peter thorn: “Yes, to avoid the current discriminatory situation. I understand. From the collegiate organization (ICCI) not exactly ask the professional regulation of Engineering Informatics. What you ask is actually rigorous evaluation of the professional activities of the computer engineering and as result of that assessment, decide if is necessary to regulate any activity or not and to what degree. Since there are 8 branches of engineering are considered regulated in Spain, which are not prepared to continue tolerating currently being one of the few branches of engineering that is maintained in an unequal, discriminatory level compared to the rest of engineering”.

Continues telling Peter that “we think that rigorous evaluation of professional activities should extend to all activities of engineering and there must emerge a new”map of engineering regulated professional activities”.” We sincerely believe that there must be some activity regulated by be beneficial for society in general, computer engineering who claim liability associated with breaches of contracts and design failures. Practical examples can be computer security or cyber security, personal data protection, the development of computer control systems of passenger transport, of control of critical infrastructure, of intervention in health care systems, etc. “In general, I think that the critical dimension of the computer engineering project is the quality (whether by economic or social cost of a failure) that project must be strengthened from their design quality assurance, and a measure that contributes to this, that that is a regulated activity that an engineer must exercise in computer science that responds civilly responsible”.

I was going to write my opinion about #informáticaSoluciónYA, but @ydarias has already done so by my

— David Bonilla (@david_bonilla) June 18, 2016

On the other hand, others think that it should rid definitely this fight and continue forward, as you think Daniel: “when I was studying computer engineering at UC3M was in favor of the regulation and of all this”stuff”of the schools. The reason? The fear that you got some teachers about the disastrous consequences that would have for us that the profession is not regulated. On my campus they organized even a couple of informal seminars to explain the position of disadvantage that we had on telecommunications engineers and the problem of lack of powers… “Of course these talks were plagued with recurring fallacies in these cases”Would leave it operated you a vet?”,” will charge less because a scholar can do your work for half of money do know you not? “, etc.”.

Daniel still counts us his change of opinion: “at that time was also launched a page (first engineers) that many will remember, in which everyone (including myself) we realimentábamos on the clear need to recognise”lo nuestro”.” I recognize that you I even attended a demonstration outside the Ministry… All of this for me crumbled in a few weeks when I started to work and live the reality of the sector a bit and talking to my classmates who was then also began to work”.

Juan Lupión also believes that the solution to the ills of the industry pass by regulation and the schools: “discussions about what is wrong in the sector can be found in real problems such as the presence of meat which entails no extra hours, excessive subcontracting and impoverishment in general conditions of work… These are real problems (and I know them well because I have experienced them), but in my opinion the solution to this does not pass by the schools but by a classical tool as it is trade union action, which has the advantage that it would integrate both graduates as not qualified and would allow one greater influence capacity. I.e., jobs to try to change the conditions of the sector believe that it is better that through collective bargaining before that by Decree Law”.

They include measures of four organizations of students and the professionals behind the protests against the Government inaction information campaigns, request for support of different autonomous communities and even the undertaking of legal action by comparative grievances. What many wonder at this is, would serve as something that eventually arise as these measures effect and computer activities were regulated by law?

For Francisco Jesús Martínez: “Software engineering is a discipline that is studied, even there are degrees and masters dedicated to studying it.” It is of great complexity and provides strength and security to the software that we use. I would require that at least all the software that buy public administration should be designed by engineers in computer science, which put his signature to the project, was endorsed by the College and assume their responsibilities, both economic and criminal, like any other engineer or architect, that if his work or design goes them wrong, have to pay for it. I think that we would end up with much of the intrusiveness that exists”.

Measures against the inaction of the Government include information campaigns, request for support of different autonomous communities and even the undertaking of legal action

Daniel also has no doubt… but in the opposite direction: “I think that it couldn’t end with the intrusion with the help of the professional associations. Already shown in other professions of compulsory licensing as dentists”. Furthermore, in reference to a possible success of the campaign and the arrival of the regulation, it ensures that “I hope that this does not happen ever”.

One of the latest measures, if the rest fails, that think the organizations of students and professionals is the call for strike. Before this so-called if there is some unanimity: would not serve much. “Although once exalted in tone, I have said that we should go on strike, I think that actually it wouldn’t have any echo or impact in society, since it would be the same as if the architects are on strike. A work for if the architect who designed it is not? Lol As in computer science would happen the same, if we design systems a few days, could be working perfectly. The impact would be minimal and losses also”says Francisco Jesus.

For Daniel, on the other hand, “will be seen as a failure given the apparent low drive which has this movement in the professional sector.” “Although Twitter can not be taken as a sign of the real world (as we have seen it in the elections), if that is true that those who have used the hashtag #InformaticaSolucionYa mostly are people who still have not been incorporated to the world of work”.

John also believes much in this measure of force: “the possibility of a strike see it frankly remote, even if not it would seem to me wrong if it is that you will reach a consensus of what are the objectives to achieve.” But it seems easy to predict that if the strike is restrict labour market so that they do not access profiles that precisely are already playing a position it seems unlikely that the strike will be a success”.

Anyway, one thing that seems safe environment to this regulatory problem is that without Government still (and remaining), looks the requested already is to continue extending in time and no real chance that the two sides will move their very distant positions. This goes for long.