How did the software industry change the world? Here are 9 evolutionary changes in software engineering that resulted in a way of life we enjoy today.
After the second world war, humans started relying heavily on machines for complex computations. Turing set the base for computational devices and others took it forward. These machines were used at an exponential rate leading to a market expansion. Machines became smaller and smaller and eventually, computers moved from heavily guarded labs to homes.
The demand for software increased and so did issues pertaining to the demand. The software engineering evolution accelerated at an unprecedented rate and the milestones it crossed resulted in a comfortable way of life we enjoy today. Here are some of the things we will discuss. Let’s take a deeper look into this.
The History of Software Engineering
Around 1960, problem solving started becoming increasingly complicated. Additionally, existing methodologies had started showing their limitations. This resulted in huge losses, monetary and otherwise and companies were on the brink of shutting down. Eminent scientists and engineers gathered at the NATO Science Committee sponsored conference to resolve the “Software Crisis”. To optimise creating software without compromising on its quality, Software Engineering as a field was born.
Micro Computers & Workstations
Computing became public with Micro Computers. People no longer had to queue their code at the lab with a mainframe and wait for weeks to see its results. Companies started developing compilers for microcomputers and this was a huge leap for programming. Workstations like Alto could perform complex compilations. The demand for software increased, this, in turn, brought in new problems. Radical changes were critical to lower the chances of failure.
With complex systems in place, results were no longer limited to numerical values. There were many simultaneous processes in action and finite state machines with simple inputs and outputs weren’t enough. OOP introduced imperative and procedural programming with “objects”. These objects could have specific types, different classes and data fields could now be computed independently.
Yes, everything changed after the internet. Communities and forums evolved, connecting people around the world. The world’s best minds got together in real-time to resolve issues. It became possible to monitor databases and store them in the cloud. Over time, websites like Stack Overflow had answers to almost every question you could think of. The Internet changed everything.
This step was a full circle in terms of the journey of programming from labs to home. In 2005, Boehm predicted that by 2012 there would be more than 55 million end-user developers compared with fewer than 3 million professional programmers in the United States. Most people wouldn’t know that they have been a basic programmer if they’ve used a spreadsheet at some point or another. Low-code development platforms reduced the need to write code and brought new ways of approaching EUD.
Smart Devices and Cross-Platform Development Tools
A billion-dollar industry opened up when computers became mobile. A whole new field with its base in software engineering emerged. The global mobile application market size was valued at $106.27 billion in 2018 and projected to reach $407.31 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.4% from 2019 to 2026 . Many new platforms emerged and eventually tools that had cross-platform compatibility emerged. It became possible to run on multiple platforms.
Cloud computing enabled easy access to networks, applications, servers, services and storage. This fixed a lot of archaic concerns that were limiting software engineering. In theory, this gave us almost unlimited computing resources and everyone from corporations to governments started shifting operations to the cloud. Heavy demand also made this very cost-effective.
AI is helpful in all aspects of engineering, from design to deployment. Patterns are recognised, code is auto-generated, tested and then deployed. We are still in the early years but we have already achieved a lot of overall improvement. In time, we can expect more efficient, less time consuming, and extremely effective software development.
Quantum computing may never be able to take over classical computing, but we know that it is a game-changer. With time, we will see how this will change things but we know for sure that big changes are coming. There are many new SDKs that enable us to write and test quantum programming and almost everyone is getting in on this because of its predicted implications.
In conclusion, software engineering is just starting to mature. We have already seen major innovation and the best is yet to come. Very few imagined the extent to which this field has expanded to today and it will be the same for what’s to come.
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Citations:1. Formats*:, P. B. (2019, November). Mobile Application Market by Marketplace (Apple iOS Store, Google Play Store, and Other Marketplaces) and App Category (Gaming, Entertainment & Music, Health & Fitness, Travel & Hospitality, Retail & E-Commerce, Education & Learning and Others): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019–2026. Retrieved from https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/mobile-application-market