Is Software Engineering Really Engineering

Abstract

This report examines the software engineering literature from the point of view of the following research questions. 1. Is “Software Engineering” really the correct usage of the term to describe our field of study? 2. Is Software Engineering really engineering?

In this report there will be discussion about the main contents of the software engineering .In addition we will focus on the comparison between the traditional engineering and software engineering .We will be able to find the reasoning for the usage of the term “Software Engineering”.

Understanding the term software engineering is critical to be able to correlate to the discipline of the academic study .In software engineering literature there are number of facts that explain the origin and the reason to coin this term. The usage of the different engineering characteristics to be incorporated in the software engineering is in development stage because of the nature of the subject. We look to literature to answer following questions:

1. Is “Software Engineering” really the correct usage of the term to describe our field of study? 2. Is Software Engineering really engineering?

The information technology revolution has meant, among other things, that software has become a part of more and more products. The rapid growth of this area has also meant that numerous software projects have run into problems in terms of missing functionality, cost overruns, missed deadlines and poor quality. These problems or challenges were identified already in 1960’s and in 1968 the term “software engineering” was coined with the intention of creating an engineering discipline that focused on the development of the software systems. (Host, M., Ohlsson, M.C., Regnell, B., Runerson, P., Wesslen, A., & Wohlin, C. (2000))

As noted in (Beecham, Baddoo, Hall, Robinson,& Sharp,2007 )the literature identifies Software Engineering as a challenging profession and often links challenge to change, “the reason for challenge is the pace of change of the field and the effortit took to keep pace with the changes. Challenge also relates to ‘technical’ challenges (not just coping with change).

There are three major computing fields-Computing Science (CS), Information System (IS), and Software Engineering (SE). As Ganssle (Ganssle 2009) raises the question if we are real engineers as in some states that title is restricted to those who pass professional competency tests. There are following research question that need to be address to understand the software engineering. 1. Is “Software Engineering” really the correct usage of the term to describe our field of study? 2. Is Software Engineering really engineering?

Engineering: (Wikipedia) it is the application of science to the needs of humanity. This is accomplished through knowledge, mathematics, and practical experience applied to the design of useful objects or processes. Professional practitioners of engineering are called engineers. Engineering is concerned with the design of a solution to a practical problem. By contrast, engineers want to know how to solve a problem, and how to implement that solution. In other words, scientists investigate phenomena, whereas engineers create solutions to problems or improve upon existing solutions.

Software Engineering: (Schach (2007) it is a discipline whose aim is the production of fault-free software, delivered on time and within budget that satisfies client’s needs. Furthermore, the software must be easy to modify when the user needs change.

Software engineering is the correct usage of the term but necessary need some leaps to make it as profession comparable to other engineering streams(mechanical, civil).Reusability can be considered as a main component for the evolution of this engineering where one designer/engineer/programmer could benefit from the work, parts already been tested and made available .if certain standards are standardized then we can look into the professional competency test.(Ganssle 2009) the expense of validating software components is also astronomical. But one wonders if such a process is a necessary next step in transforming software from art to engineering.

Beecham, S., Baddoo, N., Hall, T., Hugh,R.,& Sharp,H.(2007).Motivation in Software Engineering:A systematic literature review,50,9-10.doi:10.1016/jinfsof.2007.09.004 Direct quotation in the text(Beecham,Baddoo,Hall,Robinson,& Sharp,2007)

Ganssle,J(2009,April 27).Software Engineering versus “real Engineering. Retrieved from http:www.eetimes.com URL: http://www.eetimes.com/discussion/break-point/4027001/Software-Engineering-versus-real- engineering Citation in text : (Ganssle,2009)

Host, M., Ohlsson, M.C., Regnell,B., Runerson,P., Wesslen,A.,& Wohlin,C.(2000).Experimentation in Software Engineering :An introduction. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Citation in text: (Host,M., Ohlsson,M.C., Regnell,B., Runerson,P., Wesslen,A., & Wohlin,C.(2000).)

Low,Graham (1995).Is Software Engineering Really Engineering?doi:0-8186-7171-8/95 Citation in text :(Low,1995)

Schach,S. R.(2007).Object-Oriented & Classical Software Engineering(7th ed.).New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Direct quotation in the text: (Schach(2007)