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The Push to Make Software Engineering Respectable
May 2000 (vol. 33 no. 5)
pp. 35-43

Software engineering (SE) is maturing as a discipline and profession, but three decades after the first NATO Conference on Software Engineering, it is still not regarded by some to be a legitimate, respectable engineering profession. In 1995, Gary Ford and Norman Gibbs of the Software Engineering Institute evaluated what it means for a profession to be mature and how SE was doing. Their study found that, relative to other fields and engineering branches, most elements that make SE a profession were quite immature.

Five years later, SE has had countless practitioners (a.k.a. software developers), thousands of published articles, dozens of conferences and workshops, and a respectable number of education and training programs. But despite all this progress, SE, while recognizable, is still immature-- as evidenced by the significant gap among vision, education, and standard practice. The reasons are legion, but they boil down to one simple fact: The field is still young.

The authors present their assessment of SE immaturity in this article. Although they believe time will eventually mature SE, a calculated push can accelerate the maturation process. By "push," they mean defining, accrediting, and evaluating new curricula that stress CS and SE fundamentals.

Gilda Pour, Martin L. Griss, Michael Lutz, "The Push to Make Software Engineering Respectable," Computer, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 35-43, May 2000, doi:10.1109/2.841782
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