Code of Ethics


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Reading the documents for this subject I liked the term all of they were using, code of ethics, sounds great for a document as for the title – also we will discuss about the ethics in programming (code👀) – that’s why my chose for this post title.

A code of ethics is a document with some rules that an specific person has to follow or it is supposed to follow, just like the rules that are stablished by any institution like the university, etc. Well, this document in particular has some variations, but a few authors agree that it should exist just one global code of ethics for everyone. I think the same, I mean, I can consider myself an ethical person if I follow my code but a different person thinks that’s bullshit if they have a better or more complete code of ethics which to follow.

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USENIX has its code of ethics which I liked it because I think it has the necessary and it’s short…(here) The first code that it mentions is the professionalism which in my belief is the most important in any job and the reason is this: […] will not allow personal feelings or beliefs to cause me to treat people unfairly. Follow this rule is difficult but if it is possible, the other rules are easy to complete. This is based on my opinion and anyone can think different.

Talking about computing security, the most popular rule would be privacy which was mentioned in my last post basics of computing security and is part of the code of ethics by USENIX. They declare it as follows

  • I will access private information on computer systems only when it is necessary in the course of my technical duties. I will maintain and protect the confidentiality of any information to which I may have access, regardless of the method by which I came into knowledge of it.

And yeah, I think all of us who are not experts in computing security have in our minds that at least the people who develop the applications we use think in our privacy and they respect that. I hope so.

Also the ACM has their own Software Engineering Code of Ethics which focus in the coverage of 8 principles: public, client and employer, product, judgement, management, profession, colleagues and selfs. I will not discuss all of them because lazy, you can check them all here. Instead, I will with the one that calls for my attention: colleagues.


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“Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues”. Is what the ACM says in their code of ethics. Being a software engineer I see this more than a code of ethics, is a value that shouldn’t be written in a document to Engineers, I see this like a requirement for a person to be called Software Engineer. As student, we share all the time problems and help each other, is what I always try to do BUT it’s true that sometimes people doesn’t receive help because they (and I) do not ask for it, it’s a problem I am aware of but it’s difficult to fight it.

In conclusion there are some documents called code of ethics that are followed for some Software Engineers, but not for all of them. It’s ok not to follow all of the “rules” but at least be aware that you are not being an “ethical” Software Engineer if you do not follow them.

In my personal opinion, just be yourself but always have in mind and respect the dignity of the people you work for and the ones who work with you.

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This post entry was written in collaboration with Itzel Yazmin


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