Origins and Beginnings
The beginnings of software engineering, according to historians, was between the years 1945-65 and it was from a small association of computer users who were part of a group called Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). ACM today has over 100,000 members and growing. It is a non-profit group that has its interests in understanding how computing machinery works. It was with this group, in its early stages, where it all began.
The earliest president of ACM is recorded as J.H. Curtis from 1947-48. Other institutions at the time were also very instrumental in software engineering development. Margaret Elaine Heafield Hamilton Lickly was an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory who coined the term “software engineering.” This was really the beginning of technical documentation software and its later developments. Mrs. Hamilton was helping NASA develop the software that would later enable the US to send its first astronauts to the moon.
OS/360 IBM Project
The OS/360 IBM project was one of the very first large scale projects were 1000 programmers were hired to work on the project. Today there are an estimated 23 million software developers in the world, and that number will grow to about 25 million by 2023. There are hundreds of software languages that are being developed. The software engineering field has blossomed since its earliest days.
Before software development, it was impossible to have any way to keep track of things like electronic databases, and everything had to be written down. Society was restricted to having to communicate through the regular telephone lines since the wireless networks, run by software, had not yet come to light. The computer age had not hit the market.
There were a few supercomputer companies like the one started by Seymour Cray, who formerly worked for the government in a computer lab. DEC computers were also explicitly run for the government. It was Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Paul Allen that busted wide open the computer revolution for software engineers and the desktop personal computer revolution. It was after the launch of Apple and Windows programming when a tremendous growth occurred. It just happened to coincide with the Bernard-Lee discovery or invention of the World Wide Web. It is because of a different kind of coding that was used that another growth took place.
Software Development Today
Software engineering has hit another growth era in the Internet of Things (IoT) age, where the Internet of Things is expected to wire or connect the planet. But with growth, there are always problems. For example, there are more problems with cyberwar and software viruses that attack systems, countries, governments, corporations, and institutions than ever before. On the other hand, the entrance of blockchain is keeping data safe again.
Medicine, Engineering, and Catastrophic Events
While software engineering and software has allowed humanity to live better quality lives, the most significant challenges are also being made. For example, with the use of supercomputers, the scientist can arrive at solutions to major problems with life-threatening diseases and foretell when tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis might occur. Despite the fact that some use the web to serve selfish needs and means to manipulate governments and take advantage of people’s private data, software engineering is giving a steady rise to more influences that change lives for the better.
We only need to think of how far nanosurgery has taken us and how nanorobotics has given the medical industry new ways to help people with numerous health issues. Businesses can find the best software to run their businesses which was not possible 50 years ago. The software has changed the way business is being done.
Future of Software Development
The future of software will only become more intense and continue to help people with more life skills. Businessmen and women are beginning to redefine what a business is today and what its purpose is on a global scale. Software has already entered a new era in which robots will begin interfacing with humans in the workplace and take over many repetitive low-skilled jobs. Humans will be able to spend more time doing things they are better adapted to while robots will carry on doing things in which speed, accuracy, and redundancy is the prime skill sets required. Robots will save the world billions in operating expenses in the next decade. The future of software may bring humanity into a world of production we can only imagine.