Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK)
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The Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK Guide) describes generally accepted knowledge about software engineering. Its 15 knowledge areas (KAs) summarize basic concepts and include a reference list pointing to more detailed information. For version 3.0 of the SWEBOK Guide, SWEBOK editors received and replied to comments from approximately 150 reviewers in 33 countries. A .PDF version of the Guide is available free to all through the IEEE Computer Society.

Pierre Bourque, one of two SWEBOK editors, is dean of studies of the École de technologie supérieure of the Université du Québec.

The SWEBOK Guide has also gained international recognition as ISO Technical Report 19759.

In future refreshes, the Computer Society and its volunteers will continue to use the transparent and open consensus process that is an integral part of SWEBOK.

Volunteers have refreshed the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK Guide), adding new knowledge areas (KAs) and revising others. SWEBOK Guide V3.0 builds on SWEBOK 2004 to refresh and add new, reviewed content. An international team of KA Editors produced or refreshed the content in each knowledge area. A team of overall editors directed the entire effort, and a Change Control Board approved all major requested changes. Executed under the auspices of the IEEE Computer Society Professional and Educational Activities Board, more than 1,500 changes were submitted and duly adjudicated.

Free download

To download your copy of SWEBOK V3.0, please visit the SWEBOK V3.0 download portal. Resolution of collected comments have been posted, and members, the Professional Activities Board, and the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society voted to move the revised document forward to publication.

The SWEBOK Guide:

  • characterizes the contents of the software engineering discipline
  • promotes a consistent view of software engineering worldwide
  • clarifies software engineering’s place with respect to other disciplines
  • provides a foundation for training materials and curriculum development, and
  • provides a basis for certification and licensing of software engineers.

SWEBOK V3.0 is the most recent completely revised and updated version of the internationally respected Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge. Newly imagined as a living, changing document, and thoroughly rewritten, SWEBOK V3.0 has been developed and created by leading authorities, reviewed by professionals, and made available for public review and comment, continuing its 20-year reputation as the most authoritative, fundamental, and trusted definition of the software engineering profession.

SWEBOK editor Richard E. (Dick) Fairley is founder and principal associate of Software and Systems Engineering
Associates (S2EA) and an adjunct faculty member in the doctoral program at Colorado Technical

SWEBOK V3.0 comprises 15 Knowledge Areas, plus a new Appendix on Standards.

SWEBOK V3.0 is now specifically designed to be constantly reviewed and updated as technology and the engineering profession changes over time, remaining consistently relevant. Be sure to register to receive notifications when the SWEBOK Guide is revised.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact:

Pramod Puttamadaiah

Sales Manager – Global Business Development – India

IEEE Computer Society

+91 80 49444374

Citation Information

The citation information for SWEBOK V3.0 is as follows:

P. Bourque and R.E. Fairley, eds., Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge, Version 3.0, IEEE Computer Society, 2014;

Why SWEBOK Version 3?

Early on, the committee in charge of the 2004 SWEBOK Guide knew it had to plan for revisions, and in fact outlined a process for doing so in Appendix B of the 2004 Guide. There are many reasons for doing so, including the following:

This illustration from the SWEBOK Guide shows how goals are initially defined. Estimates are done based on the initial goals. The plan tries to match the goals and the estimates. This is an iterative process.
  • Practices change. New tools, methods, and types of software make good practice in software engineering an ever-changing target. Topics that were once experimental may have now reached the state of generally accepted knowledge. And even though the Guide focuses on the most widely accepted and long-lasting of practices, it’s possible for the environment that software operates in to change significantly because of business and job changes. For example, it has become clear in just the past few years that good software practice must pay increasing attention to security. Economics can also affect what methods become best practices in software engineering.
  • Other viewpoints emerge. Other Computer Society products—notably the Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) exam and the Software Engineering 2004 curriculum guide—offer slightly differing views of the body of knowledge. So it makes sense to take the opportunity to examine them and better align the SWEBOK Version 3 with them where it makes sense. For example, it seems reasonable that there should be a core set of references for these products, so part of the work on the SWEBOK Version 3 will establish that core set. The comparison among these efforts has also suggested the need for new knowledge areas and the revision of others.
  • The body of knowledge grows. Since 2004, many of the books cited in the first SWEBOK Guide have been revised and new articles have been added to the body of knowledge. The SWEBOK Version 3 should account for these changes.

These factors drive the need for a new version of the SWEBOK Guide.


SWEBOK Learning Webinar

The IEEE Computer Society provides informational webinars for you to learn more about our benefits and resources. View the SWEBOK Learning Webinar.

SWEBOK Guide V3 Topics

View the SWEBOK table of contents to get an overview of topics.

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