Software Engineering PE Exam Set to Launch in 2013

June 2012

Software Engineering PE Exam Set to Launch in 2013


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After years of discussions and study, software engineers in the U.S. will soon have the opportunity to earn a PE license in their discipline. In April 2013, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying will begin offering annually a PE exam in software engineering.
NCEES partnered with IEEE-USA and was assisted by the IEEE Computer Society, NSPE, and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers—a group known as the Software Engineering Consortium—to develop the exam.
The consortium has worked since 2007 to spread the word about the importance of software engineering licensure for work that affects the public health, safety, and welfare. In 1998, Texas became the first state to license software engineers and remains the only U.S. jurisdiction to provide this license. The Texas Board of Professional Engineers ended the experience-only path to software engineering licensure in 2006, and since then licensure candidates have had to take an exam in another discipline.
A survey conducted by the IEEE Computer Society revealed that two-thirds of those software engineers employed in the industry support a licensure exam for their profession. NCEES approved plans to develop the exam in 2009 after it received letters of support from 10 licensing boards, a prerequisite to implementing a new exam.
IEEE will publish study materials later this year, and registration for the first exam administration is scheduled to open in December. The exam specifications, which indicate the knowledge areas to be tested and the percentage of emphasis, are available on the NCEES Web site.
NCEES also announced that the industrial PE exam will be moved from an October administration to April, beginning next year. The exam offered next year will have new specifications that were developed with the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Study materials for the updated exam will be published in October.
Access information about the software and industrial PE exams at