Registered Computer Professionals

Published on 2024-05-08

In my country, forestry is a regulated profession. That means that there are specific legal requirements workers must meet to work in the industry. Namely, they must pass particular examinations and pay a certain membership fee to the relevant provincial organization.

Registered professional foresters are expected to uphold the interests of not only their employers, but also the public and other RPFs. They're also required to undergo continued professional development and uphold a code of conduct.

My country deemed forests important enough that we can't just let anyone have at them—there are certain minimum standards that a person must meet if they're to harvest timber or cultivate any other desired forest value, whether on public or private land. This makes sense; my country has lots of forests. They're pretty central to our economy, and they're also very fragile under the outsized pressure colonization has put upon them. And, importantly, whether they exist on what someone deemed "public" or "private" land, forests provide services to people around the world through the sequestration of carbon and production of oxygen. Forestry is one of those things that we really need to get right the first time.

When I first learned about RPFs, I was surprised to notice how rare this sort of thing is in my life. Certainly, I've never seen anyone ask about registered computer professionals, and I have to wonder why.

I've encountered a lot of software developers in my life, and I've encountered a lot of people who employ them. We're generally not the types to want to have to deal with the red tape of having federal oversight. But that's not to say we don't need it. I'm sure forestry professionals didn't always think they needed the nanny state overseeing their conduct, but if we kept doing early 20th century forestry practices with modern equipment today, the forests would stop growing back.

The Internet brought a whole new cluster of institutions into our every day lives. In a slightly different world, they might have been managed democratically (or less so) by the state. Where I live, they're almost exclusively managed privately with our only recourse being market competition, if that. Despite this, and not a lot unlike the forestry industry, they provide critical public services. Unlike forestry, people can just have at them, with the only interest they're strictly required to uphold being that of their employer.

I think it'd make a lot of sense to have registered computer professionals. That's not to say it'd be perfect, or even consistently good; I've witnessed some pretty horrible forestry practices in my country and that's in spite of the fact that the profession is regulated. But it could also be useful. I think the public would benefit a lot from computer professionals being required to uphold a code of conduct. I have a few firms in mind that are really lacking in that regard.

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