CPB2011 and ECUK

I was thinking about the CPB2011 and how this compares to the Engineering Council, UK registrations. The ECUK awards a number of professional registrations including the following:

  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Incorporated Engineer (IEng)
  • Engineering Technician (EngTech)
  • Information and Communications Technology Technician (ICTTech)

The two technician registrations are similar to the Registered Computing Practicioner category. The ICTTech allows someone without a degree to register, particularly if they have ICT relevant vendor qualifications, such as Cisco, Microsoft or Nortel, plus relevant ICT work experience.

The typical registration requirement for the IEng is a Bachelors degree plus relevant work experience while the CEng requires a Masters degree or equivalent work experience. This is similar to the Registered Computing Professionals category. In fact, the requirements for CEng is higher than the RCP as it typically requires a Masters and 5-years experience.

Where the two differ is that the ECUK recognises non-academic qualities such that a person without a degree can ultimately register as a CEng through a non-direct route by first registering as a Technician and upgrading their registrations through their career progression.

Our law-makers need to appreciate that not everyone is good with exams.

Over-reaction to CPB2011

Personally, I think that there has been an over-reaction to the proposed Computer Professionals Bill. Most IT guys tend to think that this spells doom and it’s the end of their livelihoods as they know it. I don’t think so because of Section 2 of the bill, which limits the bill.

IT guys can still offer their services and just need to get registered as a Computer Professional if they wish to provide IT services to certain critical national infrastructure. I don’t see why this is a problem as this is a similar requirement for most other professions.

As someone in the IT industry myself, I’ve also often fallen into this trap rather quickly. However, as a law student, I have learned a little about how to read the law and I think that the fear is misplaced. The bill reads like a carbon-copy of statutes regulating other professions.

For engineers, we’re also regulated by statute and any engineer who wants to submit documents for regulatory approval needs to be a Registered Professional Engineer (PE). This doesn’t stop other engineers from making a nice living off providing engineering services that do not require regulatory approval, particularly in the electronics engineering field, which is one of our country’s largest exports.

Similarly, the CPB2011 will unlikely mean the end of the world for IT professionals. It just means that there is now another bar to cross before one can provide IT services to the government.

Like I mentioned in a G+ discussion, the devil’s in the details. This Act can either stifle the growth of the IT industry or promote it into a front-line profession and separate the wheat from the chaff. This is highly dependent on how one gets to register as a computer professional.

This is where I think that there is room for contention. If the bill requires a person to have a Computer Science (CS) degree as a basic requirement, the bill is flawed. There are literally thousands of engineers working in the IT field – largely electronics engineers (EE). It is quite common to group EE and CS together in a single faculty.

Also, there are lots of IT people who have risen through experiential work and not necessarily academic qualifications. These people should also have the room to register as a professional and not be side-lined just because they lack a CS degree. There needs to be room for these people to prove their competence maybe through other recognised certifications such as CISSP, CCNA, etc.

Personally, I’m for the registration in principle but the devil’s in the details.

It needs to be done properly.

I’ll be writing a bit more on this – and an analysis – on my law blog soon. Here it is.

PS: I hope that this doesn’t mean that I’d need to be registered with two boards, maintain two sets of CPDs and pay two separate Corporate Membership fees?

PPS: Does this mean that this bill would eliminate the random third-party contractors installing communications equipment for TM in our homes? If it does, I would consider it a win as I would not have had to deal with the kind of idiot that came to install Unifi at my office, which broke after 2 hours.

Unifi Service

I had Unifi installed in my company office yesterday, around noon. I subscribed to the BIZ5 business package for my office. As my office is a high-rise building, it uses a different technology to the residential installations – it uses the FTTC system that has the last mile connection using VDSL over copper. As a result, in order to install Unifi, they had to cut-off my Streamyx line in the process.

The installation was done successfully quite quickly but a few hours after the installation, the connection developed real problems. The VOIP light would turn red periodically and the DSL light would also turn off periodically. The dial-tone on my phone also sounds all wrong now.

As you can see from the screen-shot above, the packet loss is about 50% of the traffic. Speedtest is a non-starter.

What cheeses me off is the horrible customer service. I called them up to complain (1-1779264751) but they could not set a time for the contractor to fix my problem. As a business that relies on the Internet, the down-time is causing me some real issues.

When I called up the contractor’s mobile directly, we got into an argument as he told me that he was too busy to come to my office to fix my problem as he had too many Unifi installation orders to fill. I tried to reason with him with regards to priorities but it didn’t seem to get through to him.

So, I called up TM again to lodge a complaint (1-1782149233) against the installer as well as I am thoroughly unsatisfied with their service. I do hope that TM does something about the quality of their third party contractors as they seem to let barely qualified people do the installation.

I’d like to reiterate again that this is a business package. TM needs to learn that they must provide a certain quality of service when dealing with business customers. Afterall, we are paying more and getting less for the Unifi packages. What businesses require is reliability and the fact that if I call up to complain, my complains will be addressed within a reasonably window.

Later in the day, a couple of contractors arrived at my office to take a look at the issue. It turns out that there were a number of problems. The port turned out to be faulty and they changed my physical port. Also, they installed a line fuse for me as they showed me that the installer yesterday did not do it – shoddy workmanship.

While they were working, a couple of Maxis contractors turned up and they were even shoddier than the one who did the installation for me yesterday. They did not even have any equipment with them and had to ask for stuff from my TM guys fixing the line for me.

The lesson that I learned from this episode is to keep bugging TM for good service and they will try their best to deliver. Kudos to the contractors who serviced me today.

Unifi Blues

Recently, I upgraded to Unifi at home.

Looking at the speed test results, I don’t really have much to complain about. I’m getting around 5Mbps rates and very fast ping times. The connections to overseas is also above the 3Mbps rate, useful for streaming videos.

However, my one sticking point with Unifi is the useless DIR-615 residential gateway supplied with it. This router suffers the same problems as the standard router supplied with Streamyx as well. They both required regular reboots.

I honestly think that someone in TM screwed up when customising the D-Link firmware because the issue disappeared after I upgraded the firmware on the Streamyx router from the custom TM firmware to the stock D-Link firmware.

Unfortunately, this option is not available for the Unifi router because the stock D-Link firmware does not have support for the IPTV. If I upgraded it, I would lose all IPTV capabilities. Therefore, I’m stuck with using the buggy router for now.

Fortunately, there are compatible routers that can be used in replacement of the Unifi router. But instead of spending more money for new routers, I think that I will just use the old Streamyx router alongside the Unifi router instead.