Welcome to The Software Engineer

Prof Barry Dwolatzky
Prof Barry Dwolatzky

Welcome to “The Software Engineer” – a blog for those who are passionate about the South African Software Industry.

 In the 1950’s, when the first digital computers appeared, South Africans were among the first in the world to embrace this exciting new technology. In 1957 the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA) was set up to support South African software professionals – only the second such society in the world (Britain beat us by a few months!). 

Over the past 50 years South Africans’ enthusiasm for computers has continued to grow. Our software industry has notched up numerous world-firsts. South African software engineers will be found working in companies and universities in almost every corner of the world. 

I aim in this blog to provide a specialised platform for the South African software engineering community. In it we will discuss the local software sector– its opportunities and challenges. We will discuss skills and how the broader ICT sector can position itself to create significant numbers of new and sustainable jobs. We will discuss how South Africa can export software products and services. 

Initially I will be inviting individuals to contribute. I’m hoping that others, with thoughts and insights to share, will come forward and either comment on the blogs I publish, or offer to contribute their own blogs. 

I look forward to hearing from you

 Best regards,

 Prof  Barry Dwolatzky (barry@jcse.org.za)

4 Replies to “Welcome to The Software Engineer”

  1. Brenda Scholtz

    I am pleased to hear about this new blog as this is something I am very passionate about. I think we as IS professionals should strive to attain a recognised professional status & work to bring about more stringent standards should be enforced in the IS secror in SA. I have worked as a consultant in the IS field for many years and have been horrified by the lack of adherence to any guidelines, or auditing requirements in many companies by so called qualified, experienced IS professionals. If this had to happen in for eg the Accounting or Engineering disciplines all hell would break loose, yet it is allowed to take place in the IS field.

  2. Barry Dwolatzky

    I really think that Brenda raises a very important and valid issue. Professional status and certification in the ICT industry has long been an illusive yet critical goal. Professionalisation of the industry would both protect industry and society from incompetent and unethical practitioners – and would give those who have acquired the skills and experience status and professional recognition. The BIG question is “How?”

    Brenda – can I invite you to put fingers to keyboard and send me something expanding on your comments above? I will then post it on the blog as a new topic to get this ball rolling.

  3. Wayne Mallinson

    Hi Barry, wishing you the best with your new blog. I’ve been working in the SA ICT industry for 22 years now and must agree there is some exceptional talent with dedication in the country.

    However I believe that sometimes this talent is challenged by organisational and management systems which have failed to learn and adapt swiftly enough to the real needs of customers.

    Jim Crear, Standish Group CIO has this to say about the 2009 results of the Chaos Report, (‘Chaos Summary 2009’ which measures ICT project success, challenged and failure rates), “They are [the] low point in the last five study periods. This year’s results represent the highest failure rate in over a decade” (refer http://www1.standishgroup.com/newsroom/chaos_2009.php).

    One of the underlying causes for this I believe is that the ‘Knowledge Age’ and ‘Industrial Ages’ are only now seriously converging at the ICT management level in large corporations in SA (and elsewhere around the world with slight shifts in time) despite the years the computer has been around.

    Often money is thrown at today’s project challenges in ‘brute force style’ wheras what is required is *understanding* in order to gain some serious advantage. It is time for decision-makers to seriously re-evaluate older approaches against the new trends. Add to this a touch of Science, Engineering, Professionalism and renewed vigour and SA could continue to turn out excellence.

  4. Matthew Kasekende

    Great to see you have this blog up Barry. There aren’t many SA based blogs that put real focus on the country’s ICT industry. A topic that I think would be of particular interest would be the need for an increased level of collaboration & knowledge transfer between universities and businesses in the country. At the moment, it does exist but I feel that it is still mostly recruitment-focused and not focused towards technological advancement.

    Oftentimes students have brilliant ideas at varsity but never realise them either due to a lack of resources or knowhow all of which can easily be provided by business. After getting into the mainstream IT workforce, these ideas are easily forgotten and never come to light. Not to say that there isn’t any innovation in the ICT industry in SA, there’s a lot but if we also empower innovative and passionate students to create the impossible while still at varsity, the South African ICT industry will go places.

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