Mary Ann Davidson, chief security officer of Oracle, has condemned the quality of IT products and practices.
"We are at the worst part of the curve," she told Computer Weekly, in a general discussion on quality in the IT industry.
IT is now part of the critical infrastructure, which means quality must be a priority for an industry that is accountable to the wider community, she pointed out.
Davidson said the IT industry should follow the examples of medicine, construction and engineering, and act as a profession.
"In bridge-building, everyone is licensed: every engineer is accountable." Davidson said the same principle should apply to IT development.
"The buck [must] stop with the people who write the code. Software development should be a profession," she said.
This means putting in place repeatable processes. "You do not want someone who will be creative; you need someone who can do the job," she said.
Ronan Miles, chairman of the UK Oracle User Group, said the industry needed to become more professional.
"The industry has lacked standards for some time and individuals have lacked guidance on what 'professional' standards are," he said.