Aspects of professional ethics in the real world

Published date13 November 2017
Date13 November 2017
AuthorDeclan Brady
Aspects of professional ethics in
the real world
Declan Brady
Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, Brussels, Belgium
Purpose This paper aimsto describe a perspective from the Council of European ProfessionalInformatics
Societies (CEPIS) on the roleof ethics in IT professionalism, and what that means in a practical sensefor IT
Design/methodology/approach The paper develops ideasgenerated in a series of micro-conferences
hosted by CEPIS on the topicof ethics, in the context of establishing a professionalethics framework as part
of CEPISworkin support of IT professionalism.
Findings Professional ethics is the weakest of the four professionalpillars, and development of supports
and resourcesis required. CEPIS is taking action in this areas.
Practical implications Without a framework, and without IT Practitioners themselves taking a
coordinatedaction, there risks a fragmentation of responsesto ethical questions.
Originality/value This paper describes the view of the CEPIS on the need for, and role of, professional
ethics,and how that might be supported.
Keywords Computer Ethics, Professionalism, Information technology, Codes of ethics
Paper type Viewpoint
In this short paper, I explorethree aspects of the discussion around professional ethicsfrom
the perspective of the professionalethics special interest network at the Council of European
Professional InformaticsSocieties (CEPIS)[1].
CEPIS holds that professional ethics is fundamental to the IT profession and the IT
professional, and that it is one of the four fundamental pillarsof a profession (CEPIS, 2010):
(1) a body of knowledge;
(2) education, training and continuous professional development (CPD);
(3) competencies (hard and soft skills); and
(4) professional ethics.
The rst three of these are reasonably well servedwith strong supporting services, even in
the absence of full consensus. Professional ethics, however, remains the weakest area in
terms of the state of professional readiness and practical supports (Brady, 2016). CEPIS,
among others, is taking a lead role in studying what supports are needed, and how they
might be provided.
Three aspects relatedto professional ethics are briey explored here:
(1) whether IT is a realprofession;
(2) professional certication; and
(3) codes of ethics.
Received16 February 2017
Revised16 February 2017
Accepted22 February 2017
Journalof Information,
Communicationand Ethics in
Vol.15 No. 4, 2017
pp. 362-365
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JICES-02-2017-0012
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