Engineering is an incredibly vital asset to society and the human race alike. As engineers, we will be designing the forefront technology that will drive the world into the inevitable future. In our hands rests America’s dignity and economic state. As future engineers we hold the responsibility to hold up to a code of ethics that allow us to make respectable decisions in the workplace.
The IEEE is the organization that represent the largest number of engineers in the world. The IEEE code of ethics provides guidelines for many situations that engineers might find themselves in:
to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
to be hones and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
to reject bribery in all its forms;
to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;
to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contribution of others;
to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;
to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.
The most important code of ethics listed is in fact the first code. Decision making not only affects the person making the decision, but also the general public and environment. An electrical engineer should never decided to skimp out on a design and not place important safety features like proper grounding and fusing in the circuit being designed. Whether it is just ignorance or cost-cutting features, it is unethical and dangerous. Many house fires could be started by the faulty design or worse, death.
An electrical engineer would never use components that endanger the environment if possible. It would be a wise decision to choose a non lead based component otherwise known as ROHS compliant over cheaper lead based parts. This is not critical because it is not a set standard yet, but rather a wise precautionary move on an engineers part.
In conclusion, ethical decisions not only better the world, they keep personal dignity and respect in the industry. Making an unethical decision could result in regret and a tarnished reputation. This could lead to increased difficulty obtaining jobs in the future. A reputation can provide a lifetime of opportunities, keep them open.