A while ago, while I was working on a project that would have been based (in part) in Queensland I was asked to look at the implications of the Registered Professional Engineers Queensland act for the project, and in particular for software development. For those not familiar, the Act provides for the registration of professional engineers to practise in Queensland. If you’re not registered you can’t practice unless you’re supervised by a registered engineer. Upon registering you then become liable to a statutory Board of Professional Engineers for your professional conduct. Oh yes and practicing without coverage is a crime.
While the act is oriented squarely at the provision of professional services, don’t presume that it is solely the concern of consultancies.
One of the things I noticed when looking through the boards website, was that software engineering was not identified as an area of professional practice in the guidance practice notes material put forward by the Board. So I sent off a quick request for clarification, the months rolled by, I moved onto another project, and then another company, and I kind of forgot about the question.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I did get a response! So here’s what the board’s senior legal officer said, in short yes, as far the board is concerned software engineering is an area of professional practice, they classify it as part of Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE). ITEE is a recognised Area of engineering for the Board and Engineers Australia can assess a person for registration in the area.
So there you have it, software engineering as a professional service is regulated by the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland, and if you’re practicing software engineering as a professional service you need to get yourself registered. This may well be a first for the software industry. 🙂