The national technology chamber is protesting a bill in the Asamblea Legislativa that would make formal licensing required for computer and information technology specialists. Representatives from the Cámara de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación say that this proposal could handcuff many professionals in the digital field.
The new bills – numbers 18.919 and 18.928 – would limit professional entrance exclusively to those who have academic degrees and membership, as with other colegios in a variety of professions in Costa Rica.
The information technology chamber sent a letter Friday to alert legislators that computer technicians should not be subjected to the same strict licensing procedures as doctors or lawyers. Within the letter, the chamber warns that many capable workers without licenses will be forced out of jobs because of a mandate that limits creative development and innovation.
Otto Rivera Valle, executive vice president of the chamber, said many IT workers are self-taught, undergoing technical training, entrepreneurs, or people with training in other fields. But if the bills pass, then workers who fall under those categories could not still legally work as computer technicians or programmers.
“They do this work because they have the ability to program and develop products and information services,” Rivera said. “The bills in question could restrict these people from being able to work professionally in computer fields.”
Rivera and the chamber said that the proposal offers no legitimate public interest and only negates peoples’ fundamental right to work in a free market. They said the proposals may also be unconstitutional because they would contradict the state’s protection of creative liberty and development of intellectual property.
Rivera explained that according to the bills, someone who develops an app or software for their own use or for a third party could not be hired professionally or charge for their services.
“The digital technology center in Costa Rica faces a shortage of professionals and those working under good labor conditions,” Rivera said. “Much of our labor force works before receiving a degree. Now there are kids and young adults who are developing their own applications, Web pages, and there are many cases in which they start tech projects at an early age. All of them could be affected.”