Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Chicken and the Egg

Working in the software industry it is very easy to think that software is king. Electronics courses are declining while the software discipline is becoming more defined creating excellent graduate computer scientists. I wouldn’t however describe the average computer graduate as a scientist as most are building on existing technologies and forget they can create their own. Apple’s success is that they created their own platform and luckily for them it became fashionable to own something different from the norm. Of course it isn’t always wise to stray away from the norm and even Apple had rocky periods where the company was struggling. My point though is one of software versus hardware. We forget as software engineers that the hardware we use contributes lots to our success and maybe we should focus our efforts on developing hardware too. While I don’t expect everyone to suddenly switch their approach to development I whish it was stressed the importance of hardware so that the hardware industry doesn’t swell up. I have never liked demonstrating software as it always feels so silly; lots of people staring at a small computer screen just doesn’t have the wow factor. Compare this with pulling out of your pocket a shiny new iphone. It has the wow factor because it is something you can touch and as a Software Engineer your software can make something move and light up. The fact is that development in hardware drives the technology industry along and software simply fills the gap. I do hope that it is not only the big boys that shape the future of hardware development as this in turn drives the progress of software development.