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So little actual software development in software engineering roles

Mark Woodward wrote:
> I'm so tired, it seems like "software development" is more 
> "software integration" these days. Maybe I'm old and washed up. 

I am so old I remember a Byte magazine issue all about reusable software 
components and how they might ever happen.  The gist was that the 
software types were feeling left out, that hardware folks got to plug 
together components, but software was always written from scratch.  And 
what could be done about it.  A entire fat issue on the question.  No 
clear answers.  (It would be interesting to look at that issue again and 
compare that perspective with what has happened since.)

Times have, indeed, changed.  There is a lot of powerful software out 
there that is both specialized and not-too-specific (apache being the 
canonical example).  There are various programming languages that are 
better suited to some tasks than others, there are enormous libraries of 
useful code written for these languages.  There are big ways to plug big 
things together (XML and HTML and...).  There are successful object 
frameworks, but oddly, they seem less important that I think was guessed 
from the '80s.  Much of this stuff is free.

So something that old timers once wished for has come true.  We have 
become integrators, but we also get to work on higher level problems 
now.  (Jeepers, what a little Python can do; put it behind apache and it 
can even be big-time useful.)

My advice: Keep moving forward.  Learn new things, and learn new ways.  
Use your long experience to bring valuable perspective, but be up to 
doing battle with the young-whipper-snappers on their terms, too.  ("Old 
age and treachery always overcome youth and skill", I think the old 
Waylon and Willie song goes.)

We had an co-op/intern for a few months this summer and fall, and I was 
astounded by what he didn't know (aren't *I* smart) and I was astounded 
by what he learned (aren't I in trouble).

-kb, the Kent who also had a long unemployment stint recently.

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