Debugging Professionals?? (A Call To Action)

Dear AgileSoC Follower,

I need your help.

I need you to join me in heading off a trend that’s progressing dangerously toward the point of no return. The collective sanity of the hardware world depends on us working together. The time to act is NOW… before it’s too late!

“What could be so important”, you ask?

If you’re on Linkedin, you may have noticed a big spike in activity the last few days. This has been the result of a new Linkedin feature that encourages users to endorse the skills of colleagues in their personal network. I’ve seen endorsements flying by for many of my friends and colleagues for all kinds of skills: systemverilog, UVM, VMM, SoC, ASIC, FPGA, semiconductors, functional verification, SystemC, modeling and a whole host of others. Seems like a selfless way to acknowledge the talents of others so good for Linkedin for adding it. (To see what I mean, visit someone’s Linkedin profile and scroll down to their ‘skills & expertise’ section. You’ll be given the chance to endorse their skills).

For me, this new feature has highlighted one particular skill that many hardware folks are listing on their profile: debugging.

Now that’s not completely unexpected. We have a lot of buggy hardware out there and people take pride in the fact that they’re very good at finding and fixing that buggy hardware. So many people take pride in the skill of debugging, in fact, that Linkedin thought it worthy of an entirely new professional designation: Debugging Professional. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Debugging Professionals page. There, you’ll see that a ‘Debugging Professional’ engages in “…a methodical process of finding and reducing the number of bugs, or defects, in a computer program or a piece of electronic hardware, thus making it behave as expected.” You’ll also find a list Debugging Professionals in your personal network.

The idea of a Debugging Professional kind of makes sense to me, because debugging is so important given the way we develop hardware. But that’s where the slope gets a little slippery… also why your attention on this matter is critical.

The little known back story… the Debugging Professionals were first. Shortly after their christening, the defect loggers on Linkedin took notice. They decided logging bugs was just as important as debugging and they wanted similar status, so they lobbied the people at Linkedin to add another designation: Defect Logging Professional. They were successful. Then the defect trackers questioned why they weren’t getting the same respect. The bug trackers, too; the bug trackers wanted a piece of the action (because defects and bugs are obviously quite different… to a trained professional). With the precedent already set, it was no surprise when Linkedin accepted requests from both groups. Thus, the Defect Tracking Professional and the Bug Tracking Professional were born.

At that point, the defect and bug related landscapes stabilized for a short time, until out of the woodwork strutted a seasoned, highly specialized group of experts that knew everything about defects and bugs (yes, both). Tracking, logging, debugging… they could do it all and they deserved a powerful super-designation to honour that expertise. Hence the recent addition of Defect Professional, the people that do it all…

…except focus on preventing defects in the first place.

That’s where I need your help.

Right now.

Seriously.

It seems no one is interested in preventing defects. Debug them? Yup. Track them? Certainly! Log them? Obviously! Anything and everything but prevent them. That’s why I’m looking to form a community of like minded individuals interested in putting the Debugging Professionals, Defect Logging Professionals, Defect Tracking Professionals, Bug Tracking Professionals and Defect Professionals out of work (not to mention the Defect Lifecycle Professionals and Defect Identification Professionals).

With the head start they’ve had and with their numbers growing by the minute, the time is now!! Please do you part.

To counter this disconcerting trend, we are in urgent need of people that agree:

  1. reacting to defects is killing project schedules, budgets, products and team moral; and
  2. the only reasonably way forward is to focus on preventing defects in the first place.

If you’re nodding your head right now, you’re exactly who we’re looking for. You’re already well on your way to becoming a certified Defect Prevention Professional and you probably didn’t even realize it. There’s just a few steps left to finish your journey:

  • Find a quiet room, sit comfortably, close you eyes and solemnly declare a commitment to valuing development techniques that emphasize defect prevention over defect injection. It can be TDD, pairing, code reviews, mentoring, and/or whatever you see fit. Commit to it and stick to it.

Then show others you’re committed:

  • Go to Linkedin
  • Assuming you’re logged in, mouse over the ‘profile’ menu and click on ‘edit profile’
  • Scroll down to the ‘Skills & Expertise’ section and click on ‘+ Add a skill’
  • In the ‘Enter your skill or expertise’ box, type ‘Defect Prevention’ and hit the ‘Add’ button

Show your commitment to creating a defect free world where the need for reactive problem solving techniques fade into the past. Add defect prevention to your list of skills and become a Defect Prevention Professional! Endorse others that have the courage to stand up and do the same. And please (please) spread word about this important movement.

Your friends, colleagues, industry and (new) profession are depending on you.

-neil

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