(Version 5.1) as recommended by the

IEEE-CS/ACM Joint Task Force on Software Engineering Ethics and Professional Practices and approved by the two organizations:

Short Version (1999)


The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals. Without the aspirations, the details can become legalistic and tedious; without the details, the aspirations can become high sounding but empty; together, the aspirations and the details form a cohesive code.

Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software a beneficial and respected profession. In accordance with their commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the public, software engineers shall adhere to the following Eight Principles:

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 and that is 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 promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession.

Link to the full version.

This Code was developed by the IEEE-CS/ACM joint task force on Software Engineering Ethics and Professional Practices (SEEPP):

Executive Committee: Donald Gotterbarn (Chair),

Keith Miller and Simon Rogerson;

Members: Steve Barber, Peter Barnes, Ilene Burnstein, Michael Davis, Amr El-Kadi, N. Ben Fairweather, Milton Fulghum, N. Jayaram, Tom Jewett, Mark Kanko, Ernie Kallman, Duncan Langford, Joyce Currie Little, Ed Mechler, Manuel J. Norman, Douglas Phillips, Peter Ron Prinzivalli, Patrick Sullivan, John Weckert, Vivian Weil, S. Weisband and Laurie Honour Werth.

©1998 SEEPP Executive Committee


Gotterbarn, D., Keith Miller, and Simon Rogerson. 1999. "Software Engineering Code of Ethics is Approved", Comm. ACM, Vol. 42, No. 10, pp. 102-107.