Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession”

CSEP would like to announce the availability of “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” by Dr. Michael Davis.

In 1993, the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) formed a joint committee to help organize software developers and engineers into a profession. As part of this project, a sub-committee of professionals, academics, and members of ACM and IEEE-CS began work drafting a code of ethics for software engineers through electronic mail. After four years of online discussion and revision, version 5.2 of the Software Engineer’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice was adopted by IEEE-CS and ACM in 1998. Since then, the code has been adopted by software engineering and computer societies worldwide.
Members of the subcommittee drafting the code of ethics did so via an email discussion list, and from the beginning members of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions were participant observers in the project. The entire discussion is documented in an online archive that was launched in late 2007. Dr. Michael Davis, CSEP’s associate fellow, has written an account of how the code was developed based on his own participation in the project and his interviews with key participants and committee members. “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” gives insight in how the two professional societies went about establishing software engineering as a profession and drafting a code of ethics, and also looks at this project as a case study to see how other organizations can better go about writing and revising their own codes of ethics in the future. The full text of this account is now available for download off the CSEP Web site.

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