Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Letters to the Editor

Software Engineering, Like Electrical Engineering

Letters to the Editor


Though I agree with the opening lines of Ivar Jacobson's and Ed Seidewitz's article "A New Software Engineering" (Dec. 2014) outlining the "promise of rigorous, disciplined, professional practices," we must also look at "craft" in software engineering if we hope to raise the profession to the status of, say, electrical or chemical engineering. My 34 years as a design engineer at a power utility, IT consultant, and software engineer shows me there is indeed a role for the software engineer in IT. Consider that electricity developed first as a science, then as electrical engineering when designing solutions. Likewise, early electrical lab technicians evolved into today's electrical fitters and licensed engineers.

The notion of software engineer has existed for less than 30 years and is still evolving from science to craft to engineering discipline. In my father's day (50 years ago) it was considered a professional necessity for all engineering students to spend time "on the tools," so they would gain an appreciation of practical limitations when designing solutions. Moving from craft to engineering science is likewise important for establishing software engineering as a professional discipline in its own right.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account