Software Engineering Ethics Competency Gap in Undergraduate Computing Qualifications within South African Universities of Technology
International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications
Computing graduates working as software engineers are expected to demonstrate competencies in various categories of software engineering ethics as a component of nontechnical skills that complement technical skills. Therefore, university programme offerings should provide opportunities for students to develop software engineering ethical competence. This study analyses curriculum documents to determine the extent to which entry-level undergraduate computing qualifications of Universities of
... nology (UoTs) in South Africa provide opportunities to empower students with software engineering ethical competence. We used summative content analysis to analyze texts within the UoT computing undergraduate qualifications related to software development as retrieved from the South African Qualifications Authority database. ATLAS.ti text analysis tool was used to classify texts according to predetermined software engineering ethics categories to determine the extent to which the qualifications under study expose students to software engineering ethics. The results show that the coverage of the various categories of software engineering ethics by UoT computing qualifications for software development is insufficient, incomplete and superficial, providing only limited opportunities for prospective software engineers to develop software engineering ethical competence. Lack of adequate inclusion of software engineering ethics by UoT qualifications in South Africa deprives prospective software engineers an opportunity to develop ethical competence required to become ethically successful software engineers. Such limited exposure by software development graduates risks the development of potentially unethical software products in the software industry.