The Australian Computer Society has called for industry adoption of "software quality assurance methodologies and professional standards" in the hope of enhancing Australia's status worldwide.
ACS president Edward Mandla called on the government during the Software Industry Action Group conference in Melbourne, to require ICT employees to become members of an "appropriate professional association which ensures they are suitably qualified."
Mandla added that ICT employees should subscribe to a "Code of Ethics" and that they should be subject to sanctions if they breach professional standards.
"Australia is a world class software developer, but we face increasing competition from offshore. If we are to remain competitive and secure our place in the global market, we must be able to demonstrate our professional standards and credentials," Mandla said.
"Purchasers, employers and insurers need confidence that the people behind their projects or services have the professional qualifications, certifications, ethical framework and disciplinary mechanisms in place to perform to the highest standards," he added.
The ACS released its Software Quality Accreditation Policy, recommending a multi-faceted approach to software quality assurance in Australia.
According to the ACS, only 15 percent of ICT practitioners in Australia are currently members of a professional association.
"A total quality approach to software quality assurance involves ensuring the ICT professionals involved are appropriately skilled. Being subject to the disciplinary process required by membership of a professional association, such as ACS, is a way of achieving this and demonstrates to customers that all ICT practitioners involved in the design, delivery and maintenance of high consequence systems are appropriately skilled and up to the job," the ACS policy states.
The ACS policy added that Australia "lags behind" other countries in terms of the adoption of process improvement initiatives.
"Many of Australia's offshore software development competitors are actively taking up quality assurance models "raising the question as to whether Australian software developers should be seeking a similar level of quality assurance to compete effectively, not only on the international market, but also on the domestic front".
Various software assurance models suggested by the ACS include ISO 9001:2000, which is a quality management standard; the ISO 15504 and the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). All three are process improvement standards where an organisation is assessed against a scale of capability.