Over the last year or so, our team has lost many computer programmers, and we have been unable to fill these positions. In other words, we are severely understaffed1.
Due to this severe understaffing, my boss has started to assign to non-programmers2 some tasks and projects that until now had been done only by programmers.
Although I understand why this is happening, I consider the practice extremely dangerous. Without going into details, gross programming errors could easily make our company legally liable for damages.
The way these non-programmers are muddling through is by (a) copying the code of prior projects wholesale, and tweaking this code until it produces results that do not look obviously wrong; and (b) pestering the few remaining programmers in the team to do for them what they cannot do themselves.
I am now one of the programmers who are being pestered as described in (b).
Of course, I can always plead that I am too busy (which, actually, in this case is 100% the truth), but I wonder if this is really the right course of action.
Should I just leave it at that (i.e. plead "no bandwidth"), or should I speak up?
Should I tell my boss (a) that I refuse to enable incompetence; and (b) that assigning non-programmers to projects where programming skill is required is dangerous?
Should I report this situation to HR?
1 Our HR department is also understaffed, for similar reasons, which makes matters much worse.
2 By "non-programmer" I don't mean someone who does not have programming in their job description. I mean someone who does not know how to write a computer program.