Monday, April 26, 2010

Software Engineering and Academia

Bertrand Meyer has an excellent article about why academic computer science has a smaller impact than other academic disciplines do in their respective fields. As he puts it, "academic research has had its part, honorable but limited."

"Researchers in experimental physics or mechanical engineering employ technicians: often highly qualified personnel who help researchers set up the experiments and process results. In software engineering the equivalent would be programmers, software engineers, testers, technical writers; in the environments that I have seen, getting financing for such positions from a research agency is impossible."

"The only software we can produce, if we limit ourselves to official guidelines, is demo software. ... many of us work around the restrictions ... by spending considerable time away from research on programming and maintenance tasks that would be far more effectively handled by specialized personnel. The question indeed is efficiency."

For me, that's what a software toolsmith does.

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