Software Engineering: A New Professionalism
Computing is at a stage in its development that engineering was at in the United States 80 years ago. It is at that point where it can decide to become a “profession” or remain merely a profitable occupation. This is a significant decision for computer practitioners and for society at large. Many conceptual muddles have to be avoided or cleared up before making this decision. I believe one such muddle has to do with the concept of a professional as it is related to Software Engineering. I argue that the traditional concept of professionalism is not appropriate for Software Engineering. There is a newer, more appropriate meaning of profession which is currently achievable by software engineers and will move Software Engineering in a positive direction. The evidence for my argument is drawn from three computing societies’ developing codes of ethics, conduct and practice. These codes indicate an awareness that a different sense of professionalism is required for Software Engineering to be a profession.
KeywordsSoftware Engineer Traditional Concept Professional Conduct Professional Competence Normative Code
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