[lug] software engineering
nate at natetech.com
Mon Nov 13 18:01:35 MST 2006
Michael J. Hammel wrote:
> I've been following your arguments, Nate. While I agree with the basic
> premise that not enough testing is done (in general), you're arguments
> about software engineering don't really hold up (IMHO, of course).
> Comments follow.
Fair enough that comparing desktop applications to fighter jets is not a
fair comparison. You've caught me in man-I'm-tired-today mode and
ranting without thinking on a number of things.
I'm literally just brainstorming -- just throwing out ideas in an
attempt to get to the root-cause of the very last paragraph below. I
don't consider myself smart enough to figure it out... but I have this
gut feel there ARE some awfully smart people in our industry who are not
figuring it out on purpose, and I am wondering what the motivations are.
Brainstorming by definition produces some seriously wrong junk -- you
weed it out later. :-) Which you've done. (HUGE GRIN!)
Honestly I have no dog in this fight, as I said, the longer bad stuff is
cranked out, the longer I have a job... so this is definitely an
exercise in brainstorming and personal interests, and not going to help
me personally in any way if any of the ideas presented were to succeed.
I believe if you have the title of Software *Engineer* (not code monkey,
not paralegal computer jockey, not whatever...) it should mean that you
do a certain quality level of work.
The reason I think this is because I know a lot of Chemical, Civil, and
Electrical Engineers who *do* a very high level of work in their fields.
They're all "typical" or "somewhat talented" Engineers in their
fields, but not Engineering geniuses.
I compare that with the "typical" person with a "Software Engineer"
title in our industry and I just don't see the same quality work
overall. I think we give away that title a little too easily in
Maybe that high quality is there in the source code, but the constantly
changing "battlefield" of different languages, systems, and general
complexity of our industry shoots it down by the time you get to the
finished result? I don't know...
Because truly -- the end result of many large "Software Engineered"
products is usually buggy and broken badly -- especially version 1.0.
How many of us professional computer people have an unnatural aversion
to using a 1.0 product. How about 2.0? Anything .0? If "we" are
scared of these things, isn't that an indication the thing was never
ready to go to the general public in the first place? And that .0
versions rarely are?
I think the crux of my consternation (and also my fascination) with our
industry is that "Engineering" in software, truly doesn't appear to
produce the quality level you'd expect from even a typical Engineer in
another discipline. It simply doesn't make the quality grade *most* of
And I'm very curious if there's a breakthrough idea hiding out here in
our group's collective "head" about how "we" could change that. And
whether or not "we" would even want to?
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