A Bird's-Eye View of Software Engineering
Through the various stages of my career, I have met several people that knew how to code; people whose skill level ranged from beginner to, what some would refer to as, guru. All those people had different backgrounds and worked for both start-ups and large organizations. For some, coding was seen as a natural progression from their CS studies, while others turned to coding as part of a career change decision.
Regardless of all these differences, all of them had one thing in common: when asked to describe their current role, all of them used the term software engineer. It is quite a common practice for job candidates to use this term in their CVs as the means to set themselves...
What is software engineering?
Before we dive deeper into this chapter, we need to establish an understanding of some of the basic terms and concepts around software engineering. For starters, how do we define software engineering and in what ways does it differ from software development and programming in general? To begin answering this question, we will start by examining the formal definition of software engineering, as published in IEEE's Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology :
The main takeaway from this definition is that authoring code is just one of the many facets of software engineering. At the end of the day, any capable programmer can take a well-defined specification and...
Types of software engineering roles
As we discussed in the previous section, software engineering is an inherently complex, multi-stage process. In an attempt to manage this complexity, organizations around the world have invested a lot of time and effort over the years to break the process down into a set of well-defined stages and train their engineering staff to efficiently deal with each stage.
Some software engineers strive to work across all the stages of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), while others have opted to specialize in and master a particular stage of the SDLC. This gave rise to a variety of software engineering roles, each one with a different set of responsibilities and a required set of skills. Let's take a brief look at the most common software engineering roles that you may encounter when working with both small- and large-sized organizations...
A list of software development models that all engineers should know
The software engineering definition from the previous section alludes to the fact that software engineering is a complicated, multi-stage process. In an attempt to provide a formal description of these stages, academia has put forward the concept of the SDLC.
Over the years, there has been an abundance of alternative model proposals for facilitating software development. The following diagram is a timeline illustrating the years when some of the most popular SDLC models were introduced:
In the upcoming sections, we...
Through the course of this chapter, we briefly discussed the different types of roles that you may encounter when working with companies of various sizes, as well as the special set of skills that each role depends on.
We started by examining a broad list of popular models, methodologies, and frameworks for delivering software, ranging from the traditional models that advocate a top-bottom approach (waterfall, iterative enhancement) to agile models that are better suited for the fast-paced and constantly changing environment that contemporary organizations operate in.
By reaching the end of this chapter, you should have acquainted yourself with the pros and cons of each model and the situations where each model should be applied. I sincerely hope that this knowledge will prove useful the next time you need to decide on which software development model to use for your next...
- What is the definition of software engineering?
- What are some of the questions that every SWE should be able to answer?
- Compare the role of an SWE and an SRE. What are the key differences between the two roles?
- Name some of the deficiencies of the waterfall model. Explain how the iterative enhancement model attempts to address those deficiencies.
- What are the most common sources of waste according to the lean development model?
- Provide an example where focusing all the optimization efforts on a single step of the development process can have a negative effect on the efficiency of the end-to-end process.
- What are the key responsibilities of the PO and the SM in the Scrum framework?
- What is the role of retrospectives in Scrum? What topics should the team be discussing and what should be the expected outcome of each retrospective session?
- Why are automation and measuring...
- Anderson, David: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change in Your Technology Business: Blue Hole Press, 2010 — ISBN 0984521402 (https://www.worldcat.org/title/kanban-successful-evolutionary-change-in-your-technology-business/oclc/693773272).
- Basili, R.; Turner, J.: Iterative Enhancement: A Practical Technique for Software Development. In: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Vol. 1 (1975), pp. 390–396.
- Beck, Kent; Beedle, Mike; Bennekum, Arie van; Cockburn, Alistair; Cunningham, Ward; Fowler, Martin; Grenning, James; Highsmith, Jim; et al.: Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
- Beyer, Betsy; Jones, Chris; Petoff, Jennifer; Murphy, Niall Richard: Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems. (https://landing.google.com/sre/sre-book/toc/index.html) (https://www.worldcat.org/title/site-reliability-engineering/oclc/1112558638...