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Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Software
November/December 1990 (vol. 7 no. 6)
pp. 15-24

Although software engineering is not yet a true engineering discipline, it has the potential to become one. Older engineering fields are examined to ascertain the character that software engineering might have. The current state of software technology is discussed, covering information processing as an economic force, the growing role of software in critical applications, the maturity of development techniques, and the scientific basis for software engineering practice. Five basic steps that the software engineering profession must take to become a true engineering discipline are described. They are: understanding the nature of expertise, recognizing different ways to get information, encouraging routine practice, expecting professional specializations, and improving the coupling between science and commercial practice.

Index Terms:
engineering discipline; software engineering; software technology; information processing; economic force; critical applications; development techniques; scientific basis; expertise; routine practice; professional specializations; science; commercial practice; software engineering
Citation:
Mary Shaw, "Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Software," IEEE Software, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 15-24, Nov.-Dec. 1990, doi:10.1109/52.60586
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