It is time for a Code of Ethical Conduct for Software Engineers that allow us to resolve the moral and ethical dilemmas that come with building digital products today.
Software engineers are facing more and more choices about the morality of their work. Not only is our work transforming society at large, but we have also become an industry with a lot of power and influence. We write software that touches hundreds of millions of people every day and we decide what gets built – often without transparency or accountability.
The first step in solving this problem is to articulate it: we need to start talking openly about the moral implications of our work so that we can collectively resolve these problems.
Codes of Ethics For Engineers. A Code of Ethics is a set of ethical principles, rules and standards that guide how you make decisions in your professional practice. A Code of Ethics is meant to provide moral guidance for the difficult situations we face in our work as IT professionals.
A code of ethics applies to all aspects of our IT professions. An engineer must exercise his/her professional judgment when deciding whether or not to act on these principles in a particular situation. It is important to note that while professional engineers are bound by their code of ethics, software engineers are not.
A software engineer’s duty is to his or her organization and employer first and foremost. This duty includes being honest with his or her employer, being loyal to the employer, striving to increase the employer’s profit, and so on. A software engineer has no duty to society at large.
The Code of Ethical Conduct for Software Engineers
As a software engineer, your mission is to ensure the safety, security and well-being of humanity. You are responsible for the products you develop and the systems you maintain. Your actions impact real people and their lives. As such, you must conduct yourself with honor and integrity in your professional life.
The Code of Ethical Conduct for Software Engineers (the “Code”) is a set of guidelines that provides standards of professional conduct for those who practice software engineering. The Code establishes a common basis for the software engineering profession by articulating the fundamental principles that underlie the practice of software engineering and the various ethical obligations that are placed on software engineers as professionals. The Code also serves as a standard against which all members of the public can evaluate whether an individual has acted in accordance with accepted practices within the profession.
The practice of software engineering requires knowledge of computing theories and concepts as well as knowledge of mathematics, physics, statistics, probability, chemistry and biology. It also requires knowledge about other fields where computing is applied—e.g., business, education, science and engineering—and about social sciences such as psychology, sociology and cultural anthropology.
Software engineers must be competent to perform the tasks assigned
As a community, we have published and followed many of the best practices and guidelines to help us be ethical as software engineers. We often follow these guidelines as a way of ensuring that we do not do harm, or at least that our mistakes do not hurt others.
The Code of Ethical Conduct for Software Engineers (also known as the CEC) was first published in the 1970s, but it has been updated several times and remains relevant today. The CEC is quite specific in its requirements and prescribes that coders must:
• Be honest and trustworthy
• Be respectful and treat others with respect
• Be responsible for their own actions
• Respect intellectual property rights, including copyrights and patents
• Ensure that their work complies with all applicable laws, regulations and company policies
• Respect the privacy of others, including customers
• Not use confidential information for personal gain or in a manner that could be harmful to others
• Not use their employer’s resources for personal gain or in a manner that could be harmful to others
These are some of the most important ethical principles guiding software engineers. I would like to propose another set of guidelines that coders can use to ensure they act ethically.
The Code of Ethical Conduct and Professional Practice (CEP) is a set of guidelines to help engineers uphold their duty to the public, employers, employees, and colleagues. The CEP is used by engineers to make ethical decisions using a systematic approach. Any decision made by an engineer should take into account the health and safety of the public, environment, as well as property. Engineers must also comply with federal and state laws that are applicable to their work.
There are three basic principles that are used in the decision making process:
– Public Safety
The CEP provides guidelines for many different situations including: when to disclose information about your work, how to handle conflicts of interest, patents, and copyrights along with many other scenarios. A code of conduct is crucial for ensuring that engineers act in an ethical manner when making decisions.
I am a computer scientist, software engineer and professional programmer. My name is Michael A. Nielsen, and I have worked in the field of software engineering since 1994. Over those years, I have worked on a wide range of projects, seeking to build software that meets the needs of its users, and improves their lives. During my career, I have built a wide range of different kinds of software systems, ranging from large scale financial information systems to interactive visualizations used by children in schools.
I have also been concerned with the ethical implications of my work. This is not only because I believe that I should be ethically responsible for my work as a software engineer, but also because it has been my experience that ethical considerations are often an important element in creating successful software systems.
The purpose of this post is to discuss some ethical issues related to computer programming, and the ways that programmers can respond to them. Some readers may find this discussion somewhat philosophical; it is intended primarily to inform people who are already familiar with the basic principles underlying good ethical conduct in software development.
This post is a response to this article: https://blog.usejournal.com/how-to-be-a-great-software-engineer-and-developer-e8f7782c7ecb.
I think it’s a great article and I agree with most of the points that are mentioned. But I felt that there were some things that were missing from the article, so I decided to write my own article on it!
Software engineering is not just about writing code. Software engineering is about writing code for human beings. Yes, we are solving problems using algorithms, but the end result can have a big impact on others’ lives. So let’s consider what kind of impact our code can have on others’ lives as we write it!
Here are some of my thoughts on how software engineers could use this approach in their day to day work.