Software Engineering Ethics

Software Engineering Ethics

Software engineering is carried out more ethically and morally, a software engineer must follow a set of rules and regulations and must accept that your job involves wider responsibility than simply the application of technical skills.

Software engineering is carried out within a social and legal framework that limits the freedom of people working in that area. There are various areas where standards of acceptable behaviour are not bounded by laws but are bounded by the notion of professional responsibilities. These main four software engineering ethics are-

  1. Confidentiality:- As a bedrock of trust between developers, clients and employees. You should normally respect the confidentiality of your employee or your client, irrespective of whether or not a former confidentiality agreement has been signed. This confidentiality involves not sharing any documentation, code or other necessary information regarding the client's software.

    Example:- Imagine developing cutting-edge applications for financial institutions. Adhering to confidentiality means refraining from discussing or sharing any specifics about the application security feature or sensitive functionality.

  2. Competence:- misrepresentation of one’s skill set poses ethical concerns in the software development realm and one should not knowingly accept the world that is outside of your computer. Developer should accurately represent their level of competence and only accept projects or tasks within their capabilities. Misleading clients or employers about proficiency can lead to subpar work project delays and potential ethical and legal issues.

    Example:- If a developer is insufficient in Java but lacks experience in Python then they should not claim their expertise in Python when taking on a project that requires Python programming Skills.

  3. Intellectual property rights: developers should be well aware of local laws governing their intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyrights. You should be careful to ensure that the intellectual property rights of employees and clients are protected. This involves refraining from using or disclosing proprietary code, algorithms or other intellectual property without proper authorization.

    Example:- suppose a developer creates a unique algorithm for data encryption. Respecting intellectual property rights means ensuring that this algorithm is protected and used only in accordance with legal and contractual agreements.

  4. Computer misuse:- this encompasses a range of activities from unauthorized access to manipulating code without permission. Developers should not use their technical skills to misuse other people’s computers Computer misuse ranges from relatively trivial to extremely serious issues This computer misuse issue majorly involves unauthorized access to other computers and manipulating code or any necessary information without informing the owner.

    Example:- Unauthorized access to a colleague’s computer to view or modify a sensitive project file would be a clear violation of ethical standards.

Software engineering code of ethics and professional practices-

The short version of the code summarises applications of a high level of abstraction. The clauses that are included in a full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals without the aspiration, the detail can become legalistic and without the details.

Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software beneficial and respected profession.

8 principles are as follows-

  1. Public software engineers shall act consistently with the Public Interest.

  2. Client and employer software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the best interest of their client and employer and consistent with the Public Interest

  3. Product software engineer shall ensure that their product and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.

  4. Judgement software engineer shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgement

  5. Management software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development and maintenance.

  6. Profession Software engineer shall advise the integrity and reputation of professionals consistent with Public Interest.

  7. Colleagues software engineers shall be fair to and support their colleagues.

  8. Self Software engineer shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession.

These are the ACM / IEEE code of ethics. In accordance with their commitment to the Health, Safety and welfare of the Public. Software Engineers adhere to these principles.