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More on Extinct Software Engineers

03/31/06 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

To continue with the idea that software engineers will become extinct, as I discussed earlier, and as is being discussed on FlatWorldSoftwareDevelopment, I would like to extend the thread beyond the idea that "high tech" jobs will disappear from the USA by 2016 into an old idea. The focus of software engineering will become almost exclusively on tools for software development, with the focus of software development being tools for end-users to create their own software.

This isn't a new idea, but has been around for awhile. It's never come to fruition because the technology [or maybe the technologists] weren't up to the task.

Most software, if not all software, is very frustrating for non-technologists to use. Much software is even frustrating for the technologists. When I watch my parents [both in their late 70's] trying to use a computer, even the "easy" UI of the MacOSX, I realize what should be obvious to the most casual observer. The current UI paradigm is anything but intuitive. Pushing a mouse or tracing your finger on a touch pad or point in an horizontal plane and relating it to selections on a separate vertical plane is confusing as hell until you've done it for a few years. It is counterintuitive. Hiding functions behind multiple and cascading menu options is counterintuitive. Making software that satisfies technologists' training but not end-users' needs, processes and ways of working is not just counterintuitive. 'Tis idiotic.

The real power of software, computing and digital communications will come from embedding and hiding the software functions of today in tools that allow end-users to create their own applications to automate their daily personal and business tasks; from UI's that follow the way the user prefers to operate and interact, to software that implements their algorithms, paradigms and processes. And, folk will be able to do this repetively, on-the-fly, as needed or wanted.

There are examples already being implemented in the Web2.0 world, using AJAX and Flash, such as Dabble DB.

So, will software engineering become extinct, in the USA or elsewhere. No, but it will change dramaticaly, and become a much more focused field of study.

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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