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What sections of the software industry (i.e. healthcare, aerospace, games, etc) are most likely to practice software engineering with the engineering rigor + depth and breadth defined in the SWEBOK?

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closed as off topic by Jarrod Roberson, Glenn Nelson, Dynamic, Walter, Loki Astari Jan 6 '13 at 16:21

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People who believe applying engineering principles to the craft of making software actually provides benefits and the cost of doing it is worth the benefits it provides. –  Telastyn Dec 1 '12 at 2:16
    
I reopened this question as well. @JimmyHoffa did a good job of editing it into something potentially answerable. –  maple_shaft Jan 5 '13 at 20:53
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The title and body didn't match so I updated the title to reflect the content. who needs it is different from who wants it... –  Michael Durrant Jan 6 '13 at 15:12
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

My experience, knowledge and what I've heard is:

  most
   /|\  Aerospace   # Usually NASA gets it right.  Fixes are hard in space.
    |   Finance     # Money and bean counters are picky.
    |   Open Source # Passion helps leads to quality.    
    |   Healthcare  # In the US it's a huge mess in many areas.
    |   ECommerce   # Lack of standards. Marketing pressure.
    |   Consulting  # Make the sale, move on.
    |   Education   # Lack of standards.
   \|/  VideoGames  # Sell today, gone tomorrow. Publisher pressure to release prematurely.
  least
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don't forget Telecoms - people get pissed when their phone/internet stops working. –  gbjbaanb Jan 6 '13 at 15:25
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I assume this is just personal intuition and you have no data to back it up? –  Loki Astari Jan 6 '13 at 16:21
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I don't agree with Open Source in that list ... Open SOurce stuff can be rally bad, and quite good ... seen it all. I hope that Space and Aviation have good quality stuff, I also hope that medical machines use good software ... with finacial things it depends again ... depending on the area the software is being used in ... –  johannes Jan 6 '13 at 16:26
    
Sure Your Milage May Vary of course. Open Source can be bad but after 20 years on Windows and 2 years on Linux, generally Linux sure gives me less frustration and less of thoese stupid and seemingly untouchable problems. As for medical being more accurate, boy I wish it was true but 20 years working in IT in a hospital, from billing to labs has taught me otherwise. It's a total mess and very much 'in the wild' for software development. –  Michael Durrant Jan 6 '13 at 16:34
    
@Michael Thanks for your answer. Although not supported by references, I'll take it :) It is a good shot and tries answering what I asked at least roughly from experience. –  user42242 Jan 6 '13 at 20:04
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Other than at the highest levels of safety criticality, the incremental costs of developing in accordance with SWEBOK/ISO12207/etc are negligible over not - providing that you embrace the standards as they are intended to be adopted.

Too often, the paperwork is done as an afterthought, therefore becomes pure-and-simple overhead.


But to directly answer the question (as its stands now) any regulated software (therefore aerospace, medical and automotive, as examples) should be standards compliant - and increasingly they are.

Standards compliance is clearly more relevant when the through-life cost (as opposed to short-term outlook) is considered, although there is still a certain amount of seemingly unnecessary box-ticking (for audit and should the air-con get polluted, retrospective enquiry purposes)

So-called "commercial" development appears to be less so rigorous, although the regulatory aspects of (eg) financial services may well see this having to change.


However, as Blrfl commented, standards are only there to provide process/procedural and/or technical guidelines: and the process is only ever as good as the information available, and most importantly the quality/capability of the people actually doing the work - and their understanding of the task in hand.

An important aspect of most standards is that they deal with the Competence of staff - and such aspects as training and qualification. This is one area that many companies neglect.

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It is worth pointing out, though, that all of the standards, quality programs, etc. on the planet are no substitute for having talented people who understand the problem working on it. –  Blrfl Jan 6 '13 at 1:09
    
@Blrfl good point. –  Andrew Jan 6 '13 at 8:25
    
Interestingly (and perhaps sadly), "any regulated software" still probably runs on Windows XP or a similar commercial system developed to much lower standards of safety criticality. –  user4051 Jan 6 '13 at 9:51
    
Not sure I'd agree with that @GrahamLee - I would argue that most "regulated" software runs on (and is often embedded in) bespoke hardware... although Windows CE is creeping in for ancillary stuff, and obviously is quite prevalent in the mobile phone world. –  Andrew Jan 6 '13 at 12:10
    
@Andrew that just isn't so. I've had to work on software in medical and automotive fields, running on Windows. Also see the problems that have been identified with SCADA. –  user4051 Jan 6 '13 at 12:27
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