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Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK)
 
SWEEBOK All For One

What is SWEBOK?

SWEBOK is an acronym that stands for the SoftWare Engineering Body Of Knowledge, an all-inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of software engineering.

What do you use SWEBOK for?

The Computer Society began defining this body of knowledge in 1998 as a necessary step toward making software engineering a legitimate engineering discipline and a recognized profession. As software becomes the center of critical systems, it is only natural that standards of practice, knowledge, and training would arise in software engineering, as the usage section explains.

Why is there a SWEBOK Guide?

Since it is usually not possible to put the full body of knowledge of even an emerging discipline, such as software engineering, into a single document, there is a need for a Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. This Guide identifies and describes that subset of the body of knowledge that is generally accepted, even though software engineers must be knowledgeable not only in software engineering, but also, of course, in other related disciplines.

How is the SWEBOK Guide developed?

Software engineers worldwide can participate in the Guide's development. Anyone can sign up to be a reviewer. Look for postings of other opportunities and reviewer signup on the SWEBOK Volunteer page.

Who should use the SWEBOK Guide?

Anyone who develops software should be familiar with the Guide and use it where applicable.

How do you define “generally accepted” knowledge?

A simple definition is “established traditional practices recommended by many organizations.”

Another definition that the SWEBOK Guide uses comes from the Project Management Institute. Its Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge defines “generally accepted” knowledge for project management in the following manner:

' “Generally accepted” means that the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and that there is widespread consensus about their value and usefulness. “Generally accepted” does not mean that the knowledge and practices described are or should be applied uniformly on all projects; the project management team is always responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project. '

The Industrial Advisory Board for the 2004 SWEBOK Guide better defines “generally accepted” as knowledge to be included in the study material of a software engineering licensing exam that a graduate would pass after completing four years of work experience. These two definitions should be seen as complementary.

How do you determine what is “generally accepted” knowledge?

The SWEBOK Guide uses a rigorous process that includes successive levels of review. When an editor proposes a draft knowledge area, a selected group of invited experts provide wide ranging comments, in a review similar to that for academic papers. The group discusses these comments, and the editor then incorporates the accepted changes. Next, a larger group of invited practitioners answers a set list of about 14 questions on the new draft. These questions have to do with relevancy and usefulness, and the editor uses the responses to further refine the draft. The last review is open to the public, but comments must be specific, and reference a particular line or item within the draft.