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A little knowledge about software

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2 Author(s)
Kelly, D. ; R. Mil. Coll. of Canada, Kingston, Ont., Canada ; Shepard, T.

Software engineering is still a young discipline. Software development group managers must keep their groups current with this dynamic body of knowledge as it evolves. There are two basic approaches: require staff to have both application expertise and software expertise, or create a software cell. The latter approach runs the risk of two communities not communicating well, although it might make staying abreast of changes in software engineering easier. The first approach should work better than it does today if some new educational patterns are put in place. For example, we could start treating software more like mathematics, introducing more software courses into undergraduate programs in other disciplines. Managers must also focus on the best way to develop software expertise for existing staff. Staff returning to school for a master's in software engineering can acquire a broad understanding of the field, but at a substantial cost in both time and effort. Short courses call help to fill this gap, but most short courses are skill based, whereas a deeper kind of learning is needed. As the first step, however, managers must assess software's impact on their bottom line deliverables. It might surprise them how much they depend on software expertise to deliver their products.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March-April 2004

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