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A Split In the Ranks

The software industry is rapidly splitting as electronics did. There will be companies producing components and other companies integrating those off-the-shelf components into products.

Some companies may do both (perhaps making components and also creating applications to customer orders using those components). However, if the analogy with electronics is valid, this can be expected to become rare (in electronics, people who help customers use their company's components are called "applications engineers", and it's a dud job), except for the most fearsomely complex components.

Component development will require highly skilled people working at the detailed level of algorithms using low-level languages, plus powerful design and test tools to produce highly specified, highly reliable parts from the ground up to be sold to other software engineers.

Most software engineers will not develop components, but will be integrators. They will use higher-level, more productive languages to put components together as required. They will concentrate mostly on the application domain, and will expect to achieve quite a lot in a small space of time.

The split will be quite complete; people won't generally cross the divide because the skills and attitudes required will be quite different.

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