Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Software Engineer's Hippocratic Oath

I ran across this interesting article by Phillip A. Laplante on the responsibilities of software developers. More than a decade after it was written, many of Laplante's ideas and observations still ring true.

Here's his proposed version of the Hippocratic oath for software engineers. Even if it never becomes a part of the sacred and occult investment rites1 which every developer must undergo, it contains a lot of truth.
I solemnly pledge, first, to do no harm to the software entrusted to me; to not knowingly adopt any harmful practice, nor to adopt any practice or tool that I do not fully understand. With fervor, I promise to abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will do all in my power to expand my skills and understanding, and will maintain and elevate the standard of my profession. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the stakeholders, to hold in confidence all information that comes to my knowledge in the practice of my calling, and to devote myself to the welfare of the project committed to my care.
I especially like the idea of developer as a steward of things that have been entrusted to her for a time. After all, isn't that what most of our lives are about anyway?

1 Which I just now realized I probably shouldn't have even mentioned in so public a forum as this here Internet Web Log is. Whoops! Sorry, Programmer Illuminati.

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