Software development versus Software Engineering

Here are some of my views on software development and engineering. The engineering aspect of software may have a lot to cover regarding the models of how to go about building software in the right manner but I am trying to point out my thoughts only the direction of producing good software for meeting business goals.

Software Development

Software development as the name sounds is developing software. Here the term “software” has more impact than development because it depends on the subject matter which you are using for the underlying concept. A customer might want software for maintaining his/her contacts. Sounds simple enough because yes; it’s just simple software. Any executable program or a piece of code written for some or the other purpose constitutes into software. Development of this piece of code requires programmers who have knowledge of the development environment and the language used for the same. Any person who knows a language and its constructs is eligible for making the software required because the main concentration is on getting the final outcome of the desired thing which is nothing other than, a software application. I would once again signify here that the software is just being developed by any bunch of programmers. And that’s why the major stress is on the software which is being developed and the outcome as desired. The outcome is of major concern to the ones who will be using it for some small purpose.

Software Engineering

The term software engineering is somewhat more provocative in the current scenario of information technology as all the business held by different sector more and more are now relying on the use of information technology to reap the maximum benefits of automated mechanisms for carrying out routine chores of functions which involved a lot of manual labor in the earlier times. The throughput and the maintenance of software are much lesser when it comes to cost of having an automated mechanism rather than hiring manual workforce for the same.

Effects and possibilities

When it comes to such issues wherein a major part of the business is benefited through IT, its a huge responsibility on the part of the software developers to foresee the business environments and its constant fluctuations so as to quickly manipulate the underlying workflow in the concerned software so as not to cause major downs in the business it is serving. Such foreseen thoughts are complex and require a school of thought which are built upon, both the business world and the technical world and a view to amalgamate them into a well built upon orchestrated workflow. These thoughts just cannot be viewed by someone who knows in a few constructs of technical concepts nor the one who has expertise in some particular programming environment. Here the term “Engineering” comes into picture. Software whose outcome has impact on the business of its counterparts needs not just development, but engineering so that it becomes easier to direct the software in the required way without affecting the dependent business activities and without causing havoc in the developer’s world.

Application of Software Engineering

Software engineering is not just having a knowledge about its concepts or artifacts but a sensible and smart approach to principles and standards which have been already realized and worked upon, to give not the only the quickest but the most efficient outcomes for the desired results. Besides just giving the desired results, the an engineered software can be successfully incorporated into development of similar solutions without having to reinvent the wheel each time a problem in the same domain arises.

Attaining maximum flexibility

Technology gets updated in the fraction of a second and businesses fall and rise in the same fraction. But technology and business are two sides of the same coin. Both are required for reaching a specific goal but both cannot be merged into each other. Technology requires technicians and business requires efficient managers. Requiring to integrate both of them into worked upon strategy requires the technicians to be good engineers. This is because when it comes to developing software for automating a business workflow the mangers wont be keen to learn the technical aspects but the technicians will always be required to learn the business aspects because it will be their responsibility to deliver a product which not only be built according to the updated technology but will serve purpose in the future even as the business rules and policies changes.

Designing for Perfection

Engineering software makes a profound statement and it applies to any sector where IT is used. Well engineered software actually makes the use of IT as a boon. It’s not a question of choice to engineer software, but a hard bound rule as it can make or break business models and also make it follow its course in the future. It can be equally compared to architecture of a building. A well engineered architecture can stand tall even in the worst and unimagined circumstances. An architecture very well designed but not engineered can fall prey to calamities. Again it speaks out the same thing which I am trying to relate it into the software paradigms here. Software can be well designed for a particular aspect but until it has been engineered to overcome the unseen circumstances it cannot be called truly well constructed software.

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7 Responses to “Software development versus Software Engineering”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I saw your blog. I’d appreciate your perspective (or links to others’ perspectives) on the debate on prebuilt functionality vs flexibility to customize to extend the app to meet unique business requirements. And, what is the number 1 challenge all software application companies face with their software? Is it turning core technology into solution and the amount and cost of professional services project work that takes?

  2. nitinpai Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    The challenge which I feel that project which come across as solution for a particular business domain is to understand clearly what the business requirements are and to not only provide feasible solution for the current situation but to provide the solution in such a way which can make it applicable across similar conditions either in the same domain or in some other domain which requires similar solution.

    Information processing is the most important aspect when it comes to providing a solution and any solution provided should not be such heavily coupled to the specific information so that the solution becomes restricted to those requiements but span across different requirements which have similar aspects.

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