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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.

Citation:
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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