We get away with that kind of thing in software shops because a) we're relatively new, b) rarely deal with life-and-death designs, and c) haven't racked-up a large enough body count (empirically speaking, rather than morally) to warrant regulation.
Give Uber & Tesla a few more years of running people over, and engineer-style licensing for certain types of software development will probably be in the mail.
It was. There was a PE for software engineering until relatively recently in the US but no one took the exam because it basically wasn't required for anything.
Be careful what you wish for though. The requirements typically include a formal degree and some number of years working under a PE.
There's nothing magical about such a certification though. Other than the education and experience requirements, it's pretty much a GRE-type exam. I took the engineer-in-training exam way back when in a different engineering field but I stopped practicing before I sat for a PE.
No, no one took the exam because it was effectively impossible.
To become a PE, first the candidate has to pass one of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an engineer-in-training. Except, whoops, there wasn't ever a software specific FE exam; the most relevant one is the EE/Comp. E. exam. Take a look at the list of topics: https://ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/FE-Ele-CBT-specs.pdf Most developers aren't going to pass that even with a CS degree.
Secondly, you need 4-8 years of supervision by a licensed engineer. Again, whoops, there are barely any software developers with a PE license, so who would they get to supervise them?
Only then do you get to take the PE exam for software engineering. Frankly, the situation was so absurd that one has to suspect that NSPE didn't want to certify software developers as PEs.