U Musings: Ensuring safety is part of computer engineer’s job

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Thinking of others’ safety and prosperity before my own is an important part of being not only a successful engineer, but also a decent human being. As an engineer, there are many ways to assure a successful career and rise in pay for me. I could fabricate data, build a product in the cheapest way possible or produce a product without considering the consequences society could face. This approach would ensure success for me, but harm the consumers of my product in ways that may be irreversible.

As a computer engineer, I will be hired to create programs that are user friendly and perform the desired functionality. For example, I may be hired to create a program for a bank that, if not done properly, could scam users and steal their money. It would be the program I was paid to create, but the user would suffer irreversible loss, all because I didn’t follow proper procedure. It’s important that, when completing the technical work, I am thorough and ensure that others are not hurt because of my carelessness.

To ensure best practice, engineers should use the skills they have and mastered, allowing the public to have confidence in the engineer’s abilities. Engineers study difficult subjects that make most people shudder. This places a trust in engineers to only give their official opinion and word on things they have studied. Just because every engineer has studied physics doesn’t mean they’re all qualified to also talk about circuitry. Leave that to the electric engineer, not the civil engineer. An engineer’s commitment to only endorsing their opinion in a studied field is crucial to keeping civilians safe.

In the field of engineering, knowledge and practices change as time passes and society improves. As better ideas become reality, the world shifts, changing the basis of knowledge needed to be a successful engineer. If an engineer neglects to keep up with the times, they are failing both themselves and the society around them.

This principle is important because nothing in life stays the same. Everything is always continually changing and without adaptation there could be serious consequences. As a computer engineer, failing to employ the latest techniques possible when working on a project could result in identity or financial theft because they utilized the new technology that I failed to use.

To keep up with the ever-changing knowledge base of engineering, there are many methods I can employ. Obtaining professional certifications and going back to school can help keep me up to date by teaching me new information through hands-on experience.

Reading and writing for scientific publications increase and update the knowledge I have. Science magazines and journals publish the latest discoveries in the engineering world. Reading them allows me to learn about these new discoveries, but being employed as a writer would be a better investment. To write a scientific journal, I need to truly understand the research being done so I can communicate the complex ideas of the passage easily to readers of all disciplines.

Another way to stay informed is to join an engineering society. These societies stress the use of the code of engineering ethics in the workplace. They know and debate the latest discoveries in engineering, discussing how ethical they are and what regulations should be enforced universally when employing the new method.

As future engineers, my classmates and I take steps to uphold both engineering and personal ethics. This endeavor is not an easy one and will be fraught with temptations to disregard rules in favor of personal gain, but I believe that we can take the first steps toward a brighter tomorrow.

Feature image courtesy Pixabay user Pixies

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