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The objective of this session is to introduce the subject of software engineering. When you have read this session you will understand what software engineering is and why it is important, know the answers to key questions which provide an introduction to software engineering, understand ethical and professional issues which are important for software engineers.

Introduction

Virtually all countries now depend on complex computer-based systems. More and more products incorporate computers and controlling software in some form. The software in these systems represents a large and increasing proportion of the total system costs. Therefore, producing software in a cost-effective way is essential for the functioning of national and international economies.

Software engineering is an engineering discipline whose goal is the cost-effective development of software systems. Software is abstract and intangible. It is not constrained by materials, governed by physical laws or by manufacturing processes. In some ways, this simplifies software engineering as there are no physical limitations on the potential of software. In other ways, however, this lack of natural constraints means that software can easily become extremely complex and hence very difficult to understand.

Software engineering is still a relatively young discipline. The notion of ‘software engineering’ was first proposed in 1968 at a conference held to discuss what was then called the ‘software crisis’. This software crisis resulted directly from the introduction of powerful, third generation computer hardware. Their power made hitherto unrealisable computer applications a feasible proposition. The resulting software was orders of magnitude larger and more complex than previous software systems.

Early experience in building these systems showed that an informal approach to software development was not good enough. Major projects were sometimes years late. They cost much more than originally predicted, were unreliable, difficult to maintain and performed poorly. Software development was in crisis. Hardware costs were tumbling whilst software costs were rising rapidly. New techniques and methods were needed to control the complexity inherent in large software systems.

These techniques have become part of software engineering and are now widely although not universally used. However, there are still problems in producing complex software which meets user expectations, is delivered on time and to budget. Many software projects still have problems and this has led to some commentators (Pressman, 1997) suggesting that software engineering is in a state of chronic affliction.

As our ability to produce software has increased so too has the complexity of the software systems required. New technologies resulting from the convergence of computers and communication systems place new demands on software engineers. For this reason and because many companies do not apply software engineering techniques effectively, we still have problems. Things are not as bad as the doomsayers suggest but there is clearly room for improvement.

Questions & Answers

Which of these are standards for assessing software processes
own Reply
team a found 342 errors during the software engineering process prior to release. team b found 184 errors. what additional measures would have to be made for projects a and b to determine which of the teams eliminated errors more efficiently? what metrics would you propose to help in making the determination? what historical data might be useful?
Kaviya Reply
it's depend upon software testing and debugging
OMKAR
what is coding
Waswa Reply
programming languages is a coding it is also used software development, designing, modeling, etc..
OMKAR
presently I work as a computer engineering what course can I study in any computer institute to enable me promoting myself
Ichaba
AND here lot of course
OMKAR
How to calculate the basic salary of a payroll in Java coding?
Adjei Reply
ত্তচুরভহব
Parvez
hello
Bahadur
Quids on software engineering
Enongene Reply
software testing practice
Prerana
definition of software
Baba Reply
define system ,concepts of system and types of system?
Gurmeet Reply
iom
ADNAN
hello
arsh
hari Paulus hai
Hari
System is the way of Execution or a set of principles to do something or any task is called System.
Ayesha
There are many infinite forms and Types of System in different fields as well.
Ayesha
TELL ME ABOUT MAINFRAME?
OMKAR
hi
Md
System is the way of Execution or a set of principles to do something or any task is called System.
Sazed
is very important software engineer or not.
Riyanshu Reply
very important
arsh
2d
Dv
hello
Md
what is software engineering
Ravindra Reply
Software engineering is a detailed study of engineering to the design, development and maintenance of software
arsh
what is salary of software engineer
Akash Reply
it depend on organization's and quality
josephat
I think average salary 80000us dollars per year
arsh
what are naturs of software Engineering
BANDARU Reply
what is the nature of saftware
BANDARU Reply
what is nature of sotfware
BANDARU
hi
khushboo
can anyone help me I need to learn
khushboo
code debug
khushboo
in eclipse java
khushboo
@janak can u suggest
khushboo
what is the salary of software engineer
Akash
per month
Akash
please tell me what is the salary of software engineer per monthe
Akash
HELLO ENGINEERS ✍
OMKAR
which sdlc mode l is suitable for atm banking system
Rakesh Reply
how can I create my own software?
David
HUAWEI.ABBULLAG.45720891
Abdula Reply
how to build apps
Andreas Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Software engineering. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10790/1.1
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