The increasing globalization of the software industry implies that a software engineering professional is likely to work in different countries over the course of a career. It is therefore important to develop ways to increase the international acceptance of professional certifications in this domain.
The newly published International Standard ISO/IEC 24773, Software engineering – Certification of software engineering professionals – Comparison framework, will respond to the needs of multi-national organizations or suppliers when developing software for a foreign customer who requires software engineering professional certifications.
ISO/IEC 24773:2008 establishes a framework for comparison of schemes (a set of certification requirements for software engineering professionals) for certifying software engineering professionals. This International Standard specifies the items that a scheme is required to contain and indicates what should be defined for each item.
This standard has a number of intended users:
- Educators, academics and course developers: to map their course structure and design against another course or educational requirement; develop new courses; make decisions about mutual recognition
- Examining bodies: to construct examination and/or evaluation schemes; make decisions about mutual recognition
- Industry and professional bodies: to develop and maintain certification schemes; make decisions about mutual recognition
- Government bodies: for policy development; funding decisions; skills assessment; regulation of professionals; facilitation of trade agreements between countries
At present, different countries have adopted different approaches on the certification of software engineering professionals that are implemented by means of regulations and by laws. The intention of ISO/IEC 24773:2008 is to be open to these national approaches by providing a framework for expressing them in a common scheme that can lead to understanding between different countries and it will facilitate the portability of software engineering professional certifications between different countries.
The standard refines and supplements the processes for certification of individuals included in ISO/IEC 17024:2003, Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
A certification body for software engineering professionals seeking accreditation as such will be required to demonstrate conformity to ISO/IEC 17024:2003 and to ISO/IEC 24773:2008.
ISO/IEC 24773:2008, Software engineering – Certification of software engineering professionals – Comparison framework, was developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, Subcommittee SC 7, Software and systems engineering. It costs 56 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).