Know your roots

flickr photo by dullhunk shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
flickr photo by dullhunk shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

We all know about the history of the computer, and if not I will tell you a little about it:

It started with counting machines like the abacus, then it became enormous machines with the size of a building where programmers had to put punched cards and wait for results to come back on the printer. They became smaller with ta past of time, program languages appeared and finally, everyone can have a personal computer (or more) at home.

But, have you ever wondered who was the first software engineer or since when people are called that? That’s right, the first programmers were not software engineers.

It was in the 1960s when many software projects came with lot of problems, most of them were late, over budget and the quality was bad and very inefficient, and the complexity of the software made it difficult to maintain; even when they did manage to deliver a program, it didn’t do for what they were intended. The first NATO Software Engineer Conference in 1968 came with a new concept of software for all this problems, calling it Software Crisis. According to this page:

The conference sought to apply the best practices of project management and production — already used in traditional engineering disciplines — to software..

The conference also proposed a solution, they said that it was needed a new discipline. And I bet you already know the answer. The discipline that they had in mind was called “Software Engineer”.

I’ll share this video about Paolo Perrota talking about the history of software engineer, it inspired me to write this post.


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