Sun Mar 12 16:51:16 EST 2006

Big Design Up Front can't work

I've got a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Philosophy, so, of course, I'm a Software Engineer.

Ever since I built my first computer at the age of twelve, I knew that whatever I wound up doing as a career, I'd be using computers and my programming skills to create the tools I needed for my 'real' job. I really never expected that writing software would become my real job, but that's how it turned out. While killing time in grad school, working on a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, I got an opportunity to become a programmer, and for the past ten years that's been my career.

The software industry is often compared to the construction industry. When a new skyscraper is being created, you've got an architect who figures out what it should look like and how it should be used, an engineer who figures out how to make sure it doesn't fall down and that the bathrooms work, a general contractor who manages the process of building it and who decides on all of the construction details, and the workmen who actually build the thing.

Creating software is pretty much the same, though you often have people doing more than one role. I'm currently doing everything from the engineer's role down on various projects and to various capacities. I've done architect type stuff too, but to be honest, since I never wanted to build software for a living, I don't get that big a kick out of inventing new software. I'm much more interested in making software work and work well.

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Posted by Douglas Webb | Permalink | Categories: Software Development

Sun Mar 12 16:51:16 EST 2006

What I do for a living

I've got a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Philosophy, so, of course, I'm a Software Engineer.

Ever since I built my first computer at the age of twelve, I knew that whatever I wound up doing as a career, I'd be using computers and my programming skills to create the tools I needed for my 'real' job. I really never expected that writing software would become my real job, but that's how it turned out. While killing time in grad school, working on a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, I got an opportunity to become a programmer, and for the past ten years that's been my career.

The software industry is often compared to the construction industry. When a new skyscraper is being created, you've got an architect who figures out what it should look like and how it should be used, an engineer who figures out how to make sure it doesn't fall down and that the bathrooms work, a general contractor who manages the process of building it and who decides on all of the construction details, and the workmen who actually build the thing.

Creating software is pretty much the same, though you often have people doing more than one role. I'm currently doing everything from the engineer's role down on various projects and to various capacities. I've done architect type stuff too, but to be honest, since I never wanted to build software for a living, I don't get that big a kick out of inventing new software. I'm much more interested in making software work and work well.

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Posted by Douglas Webb | Permalink | Categories: Software Development