The President: The right move

This month, Prins discusses how being an ACS member gives you access to an unrivalled network of expertise, knowledge and advice to help you refine your professional skillsThis year started with a bang and no doubt you're all starting to feel the pressures of project deadlines and other demands from management or clients.

As a professional, it is important to be aware of the ethical considerations relating to the work you undertake and to ensure that you satisfy the ACS Code of Ethics and the Professional Code of Conduct by which you are bound.

For example, one approach being taken by many IT professionals with regard to Y2K remediation is to implement a temporary fix that does not completely resolve the date change problem, but instead defers it into the future.

In many cases, this is considered a reasonable and cost-effective solution. However, from an ethical viewpoint, it is critical than where this approach is used, it is fully communicated to the customer.

The ACS offers a number of resources to help you in safely traversing the ethical quagmire. If you have any questions, you should first peruse the Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practice, which can be found on the ACS Web site at http://www.acs.org.au/index-positions.htm.

We also have several e-mail lists, accessible via the Web at http://www.acs. org.au/index-lists.htm, specialising in Y2K, E-Commerce, Women in Technology, Health Informatics, and the Economic, Legal and Social Implications of Technology, to name a few.

Since it's likely some of them have already encountered a situation similar to the one you are facing, you can reap the benefit of their experience.

Another avenue of assistance is the ACS National Office, where you can request advice from the relevant Board Director or other ACS office bearer with appropriate experience. The Society operates Technical Boards in the fields of Computer Systems & Software Engineering, Information Systems and Computer Science, Community Affairs, Marketing, Membership, Publications, and Professional Development.

These Boards are responsible for a huge array of committees, working groups and special interest groups covering Safety Critical Systems, Computer Security, Artificial Intelligence, Health Informatics and more.

Each of these spheres of activity relies on the participation of Members. For example, the various Technical Boards take part in a wide variety of work ranging from research and the preparation of Government submissions to the development of local and international standards in cooperation with Standards Australia.

The ACS also holds various positions within international bodies such as the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP), the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC), making important contributions to the work of these organisations and providing even more opportunities for you to play a part.

If there is a topic that interests you but which is not yet covered by any existing Special Interest Groups (SIGs) or working groups, the ACS will provide infrastructure and support to help you start one, and put you in touch with relevant international bodies involved in that field.

Prins Ralston is president of the ACS

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