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Developments in the Fields Software Engineering Professionalism, Standards, and Best Practice

mercredi 5 novembre 2003, par Thompson J. Barrie

  • J. Barrie Thompson
  • Professor in Applied Software Engineering,
  • School of Computing and Technology, University of Sunderland,
  • St Peter’s Campus, Sunderland, SR6 0DD,
  • United Kingdom

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It is widely recognised that Information Technology (IT) is a major force in the world and that it plays an important part in transforming the economy of many countries and society in general. In Europe the IT sector has an annual turnover of EUR 2000 billion and provides employment for more than 12 million. Yet despite massive investment in IT across the world there are still too many problems associated with software projects. The case is made that in IT there will be an expanding a key role for Software Engineers and that they are a major force for countering the sector’s problems. However, Software Engineering needs to be seen as a professional discipline and for this to occur there needs to be both educational and professional infrastructures which reflect a true "engineering" ethos. A summary of recent movements in the fields of Software Engineering education and professionalism is given and this is followed by more in depth analysis of four particularly significant projects/activities. These are the project concerned with the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) project, the Production of the Software Engineering volume as part of the CC2001 effort, and the work associated with the International Federation for Information Processing’s proposals regarding the Harmonization of Professional Standards in information technology and how this relates to Software Engineering. Finally conclusions are presented along with details of further work that needs to be undertaken.

Curriculum Vitae

J. Barrie Thompson is Professor in Applied Software Engineering in the School of Computing and Technology at the University of Sunderland where he co-leads the University’s Software Engineering research group. His major areas of expertise are : Educational, professional and ethical aspects associated with area of Software Engineering. The use of methods and Software Engineering principles in the development of commercial/administrative computer based information systems. The development and use of software tools and quality assurance approaches to support commercial software development. Trust in the field of Electronic Commerce. The development of innovative teaching approaches which are relevant to the needs of industry and promote technology transfer. Distance education in the field of computing.

Professor Thompson’s recent prime international activities relevant to the Software Engineering discipline and profession, and the educational provision needed to support it have been : (a) Member of the Steering Committee which is overseeing a joint task force of the IEEE Computer Society and the ACM who are currently engaged in producing the Software Engineering Volume of the International Curricula for Computing. On the Steering Committee Professor Thompson represents the IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Committee for Software Engineering. (b) Vice Chair of Working Group 3.4 (Professional and Vocational Education and Training) within the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP). W.G. 3.4 is a Working Group whose brief is education and training for IT professionals and advanced end-users. (c) Development and operation of international interactive workshops and similar events relevant to Software Engineering education and professionalism. These have included International Summits co-located with the 2002 and 2003 International Conferences on Software Engineering (ICSE). (d) Over ten years involvement with IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Software and Applications Conferences (compsac). Compsac is a major international conference related to Software Engineering and is one of the premier conferences supported by IEEE Computer Society.

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