As an ArgoUML contributor I'm going to blog my activities here, so that they may draw interest by other developers or help other developers when doing tasks similar to what I've done. AND(!) the grand vision that makes an Argonaut what he is, TO THRIVE IN THE BIG DANGEROUS WORLD, TAKING THE Argo TO A GOOD SHORE ;-))

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Am I a Software Engineer?

About two years ago I decided to change my job title to Software Engineer. I did this because I think that what is missing in the Software Development field is the application of Engineering practices.

Now I found out this paper about Software Engineering Myths. The author certainly has a point and I am indeed one person that according to him is abusing of the Software Engineer title. But, you can only say this if you agree with his central point that you only are doing Software Engineering if your work is derived from some formal basis. This is a rather biased view! What I've seen in other Engineering fields is that what more establishes their common ground is the set of practices they follow. I would even say that they aren't close to science, but they use recipes derived from this formal basis. Them they mix and match according to experience to do their work.

What are the practices that we are using today that would conceed a person the Software Engineering title? I think these are things like

  • requirements management
  • modeling
  • testing
  • simulations
  • metrics
  • use of a software development process

Some of these have indeed a formal and theoretical basis. Some don't. But, they are accepted practices by the whole field. They categorize the Software Engineer.

So, although I agree with some of the observations of Sahil Thaker, I will continue to use this title, since I belive what I do is Engineering and not plain development.

3 comments:

Scott Sehlhorst said...

Luis,

I agree with you that it is reasonable to describe any methodical and scientific approach as 'engineering.' People engineer corporate takeovers, bridges and software.

I used to be a registered professional engineer - and many PEs felt that anyone without registration/certification was devaluing the word by using it. Sanitation engineer is a valid example.

I also agree that Sahil has some really good content in his article - I've flagged it to read again later.

If you're interested, we have a blog on software product development where we talk about a lot of these engineering principles (requirements management, testing, etc). It's at http://tynerblain.com/blog.

Thanks for checking it out,
Scott

euluis said...

Hi Scott,

your blog is a great resource :-)) I'm going to add it immediately to my RSS reader.

And yes, I think we really DO engineering work, even if software development lacks a formal basis in many of its areas / practices.

Luis

Palani said...

just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.
software product engineering

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