The Basics of Software Engineering


Defining the term ‘software engineering’

First, let’s brush up our knowledge on what software engineering is all about. Technically, it is the application of the design, development, testing and maintenance of software. It is a discipline which uses the methods and principles of engineering to create a software that can be effectively used in computers. It involves a systematic approach when dealing with analyzing techniques and solving problems. Software engineering is relevant in almost all industries including business, medicine, science, communications and military to name a few.

Software pertains to a program code while engineering refers to the scientific approach in the development of the software. The evolution of software starts with the gathering of requirements. Here, developers manufacture a software prototype and present it to the users for evaluation prior to the development. This initial process determines if the developer has achieved the specific requirements.  There are software paradigms that refer to the methods and procedures taken when designing a software which includes software design and programming paradigms. The methods used in software design paradigm includes the design, maintenance and programming while programming paradigm consists of coding, testing and integration.

There is a constant change in user requirements depending on the environment. Software engineering relies on the scalability, cost, nature and quality of the software produced to be able to test if it successfully works. A successfully developed software must be operational, transitional and well maintained. It can be measured based on the cost, usability, functionality, efficiency, adaptability, reusability and flexibility of the product. 

The software development process

There are several steps in developing a software. The first step is to know what kind of software the user needs and expects. Once identified, the collection of data will be gathered from database, questionnaires, interviews and evaluation of existing software. A feasibility study will be conducted to plan the development process. This is where analyzation techniques are applied to determine if the project is feasible. A project plan is created to identify all scopes and resources for system analysis. The next stage is developing the design where diagrams, codes are created to produce both logical and physical design. The programming stage comes to effect which involves writing the program codes. Testing the software is conducted to check for errors. Once the software is ready for implementation, it will be installed and uploaded in the computer machines. Maintenance checking must be done to confirm if the system runs effectively. Part of the whole process is to make sure that all requirements of the user has been implemented in the development of the software.                                                                                         

Mastering the study

Software engineering can be studied through computer science courses or particularly a software engineering degree. Both have similar subject matters however, software engineering courses does not solely focus on programming but more on the software development including the assessment and efficiency of software. Both courses require basic programming skills and computer science. Computer science subjects can advance to systems, database, networking, artificial intelligence and other programs. On the otherhand, software engineering covers subjects that are relevant to the problem solving of programs including software analysis, design, process and management.  A software engineer holds a bachelor’s degree. If you are aiming for a higher position and level, you can take a master’s degree to enhance and improve your skillset. There are many employment opportunities for graduates of software and computer engineering, computer science, software development and other related fields.

A Day in a Life of a Software Engineer