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Issue No. 05 - September/October (2005 vol. 22)
ISSN: 0740-7459
pp: 5-7
Warren Harrison , Portland State University
A recent discussion with colleagues from my university's business school and computer science department focused on identifying the most critical knowledge for software developers. My computer science colleagues' perspective was quite interesting. They acknowledged that once a software developer has managed to climb into a second- or third-level management position, maybe an MBA wouldn't be such a bad idea. But for the most part, they held the strong belief that anyone smart enough to be a computer science graduate must be able to easily pick up this "business stuff" on the side. <p>I felt the same quick surge of irritation that I usually get when dealing with students who want to bypass prerequisite courses and enroll directly into an upper-division software engineering course. They seem to think that software engineering can't be all that difficult compared to the mysteries of homomorphisms and context-free grammars. It's either (a) the height of conceit or (b) the height of ignorance about the depth of the field to suggest that, without serious study, someone could pick up a field that has taken others years to master. Over the years, I've come to realize that type b is more common than type a.</p><p>So, whenever I hear someone talk about either business or computing issues as things to be "picked up on the job," I can't help but wonder whether the person is type a or type b. That's not to say that someone can't learn material from either discipline through self-study--but it requires a serious application of discipline and effort.</p>
business knowledge, career path, software economics

W. Harrison, "What Do Software Developers Need to Know about Business?," in IEEE Software, vol. 22, no. , pp. 5-7, 2005.
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