Programming Ethics

In this post I want to indicate moral responsibility and ethics as the important principles for software developer career.

Software industry is not only regulated by the law, but also guided by some moral principles. In order to be recognized as professional you must accept certain standards of behavior. Some of this are : (Sommerville, 2016)

Confidentiality – Even when you do not have sign agreement respect of confidentiality of your customers and employer.

Competency – You should know your limitations and do not accept work that is outside your level of competence.

Intellectual Property Rights – Make sure that intellectual property of your customers and employer is protected. Be aware of patents and copyrights.

Computer misuse – You should not use technical skills to misuse other people’s computers.

COPE ( The Committee on Professional Ethics is responsible for promoting ethical conduct among computing professionals by publicizing the Code of Ethics and by offering interpretations of the Code) published eight principles that Software Developers should adhere : (Gotterbarn, Miller and Rogerson, 2019)

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 interests of their client and employer consistent with the public interest.

3. PRODUCT – Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.

4. JUDGMENT – Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment.

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 engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.

7. COLLEAGUES – Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.

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

Software Development involves not only technical skills but also moral responsibility. Respected professional developer always should act in ethical way.


Sommerville, I. (2016). Software Engineering. 10th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited, pp.28-29.

Gotterbarn, D., Miller, K. and Rogerson, S. (2019). Software Engineering Code. [online] ACM Ethics. Available at: [Accessed 20 Sep. 2019]. 

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