[LINK] 10 tech laws that define our world
swilson at lockstep.com.au
Fri Mar 9 06:35:30 EST 2012
On 8/03/2012 9:23 PM, Richard Chirgwin wrote:
> Ben - among engineering authorities (eg, Engineers Australia), I believe
> the status of 'software engineer' remains contentious. Someone can
> correct me if I'm wrong there...
> As for project sign-off: no, people can just "finish" their software and
> say goodbye, without a sign-off from someone with engineering accreditation.
> I certainly know about civil engineers and bridges.
The state of software engineering as a profession certainly is
contentious. Was it not on Link a few months ago that people were
arguing about whether a university degree is necessary to be a good
programmer? Amazing debate. We wouldn't argue if Richard's civil
engineer brother needed a degree before be built the bridges we drive on.
I called myself a software engineer for 10 years or so. I worked on real
time control software for implantable defibrillators. Ultra high
reliability code, and now when I read with disbelief about malware
getting into implantable defibs (because they run on Windows or
somesuch) I realie we wrote high security code at the same time. But
that's a story for another day ...
Having prided myself as a software engineer, nevertheless I've since
reached the conclusion that the term is meaningless.
Code is so very unlike the stuff of other professions – soil and gravel,
metals and alloys, nuts and bolts, electronics, even human flesh and
blood - that the metaphor of engineering in the phrase "software
engineering" may be dangerously misplaced. By coopting the term we have
might have started out on the wrong foot in trying to professionalise
the programming craft. It won't be until software engineering develops
the normative tools and standards, culture and patience of a true
profession that the software crisis will turn around.
Detailed column on the matter here:
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