The Secure Programming Council on Tuesday unveiled a proposal for the standards that companies can rely on to test their software developer's knowledge of secure programming.

The council released the Essential Skills for Secure Programmers Using Java/JavaEE initiative, the first of the six standards initiatives for secure programmers using Java and plans to later add tests for C and C++ as well as Net, PHP and PERL.

The standards will help companies ensure that their developers have a certain level of competence in writing secure software.

The standards were the result of efforts from over 40 companies, government agencies and security firms mainly from the financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, military and outsourcing industries.

The SANS institute will administer the tests starting December 5 in London, and then for eight months in other cities throughout the United States and Europe. The cost will be between $50 and $450 for participants ranging from students to employees of large companies.