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What is software engineering
Updated on 04th Jun, 23 113 Views

Simply expressed, Software Engineering is the domain of computer science where user-centric software is created while adhering to a systematic process and taking into account user demands. Software engineering is a broad field with numerous sub-domains. We will examine them in this blog and provide a brief explanation to you.

Here is the breakdown of the topics we will cover in the blog:

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Software Engineering: What is it?

Let’s decipher the term Software Engineering. In a nutshell, it refers to a process where software engineers use various methodologies and sets of tools to develop user-centric software. The software developed is highly optimized for applications in real-life scenarios. 

  • During the process of development and validation, a document known as SRS (Software Requirement Specification) is followed, where the requirements and detailed analysis of the proposed software are mentioned.
  • Software Testing is a sub-domain of Software Engineering where the to-be-published software is tested in various real-life scenarios.
  • The testing is done while considering the test cases developed through various sources and processes.
  • Principles of engineering are applied in the domain of Software Engineering to developing user-centered and economically feasible software.
  • The main focus of Software Engineering is to affirm and authenticate the to-be-published software before its actual delivery.
  • Software engineering ensures that the delivered software is user-defined, scalable, secured, robust, fault-tolerant, has high uptime, etc.

What does Software mean?

Software refers to a set of programs where specific instructions carry out specific tasks to get the desired output. Some examples of software are Power BI, Microsoft Office, various antivirus software, etc.

  • Software is used to automate tasks physically on hardware and virtually on digital systems
  • The set of programs on which software is built contains a collection of procedures, routines, instructions, and data.
  • The software takes inputs from the user, processes data, and then delivers the desired output.
  • The software can act as a final product and as a carrier for other products to be delivered.
  • Almost every software comprises three elements, Programs, Documentation, and Licensing.
  • Key characteristics of good software are efficiency, reliability, robustness, and maintainability. 

Different types of Software

In today’s technologically advanced society, software is used extensively and is quite significant. We must comprehend the many forms of software to create in-demand applications.

The various types of software are listed below.

  • Application Software:
    • Application software is built to perform specific tasks.
    • High-level languages are used for the development of application software.
    • Application software can be of two types – 
      • Generic application software
      • Customized application software
    • Application software interacts directly with the users.
    • Examples of application software are Microsoft office suite, real-time virtual meeting software, etc.
  • System Software:
    • System software manages the resources of the system.
    • A computer system cannot function without system software.
    • Low-level language is used to build such software.
    • The best example of system software is operating systems and their peripherals, device drivers, language processors, etc.

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The Purpose of Software Engineering

The Purpose of Software Engineering

Software Engineering is mainly concerned with the validation and verification of the to-be-published software, but the domain of Software Engineering has a lot more to offer. Let’s have a look. 

  • Software Engineering is associated with every domain and sub-domain of computer science, where digital delivery of service is needed.
  • Software Engineering helps engineers to create a world where we leverage the power of technology to make lives better.
  • Software Engineering and its various sub-domains ensure the quality of the to-be-delivered software.
  • Concepts of Software Engineering have helped the associated manpower to lay the foundation for more efficient and optimized software.
  • With the help of Software Engineering, the development of larger software was possible efficiently without wastage of valuable resources.

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Various Software Engineering Models

Various Software Engineering Models.

The numerous processes required for a project’s ultimate deployment should be taken into account before beginning the development of any new software or app. 

Development, implementation, testing, and routine maintenance are all stages required for the program to operate correctly. This is ensured by the different models of software development life cycle.

Below are the different types of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Models:

  • Waterfall Model: The Waterfall Model is the most basic model of SDLC. Implementation is more practical and it is the preferred choice for small projects.
    • Different phases of the Waterfall Model:
      • Feasibility study
      • Requirement analysis
      • Design
      • Coding and unit testing
      • Integration and system testing
      • Operation and maintenance
    • Advantages:
      • Implementation is very easy and simple.
      • The start and end of the software development process are fixed.
      • Pre-requisites of the to-be-published software can be decided beforehand.
    • Disadvantages:
      • This model is not suitable for complex projects.
      • There is no feedback path in the Waterfall Model.
      • It cannot accept proposed changes during the process of development.
      • Overlapping with other stages is not possible.
      • The next process cannot be started before the completion of the previous one.
Phases of the Iterative Model
  • Iterative Model:  The entire software is developed version-wise, i.e., after the release of the first version, the second version is released with more functionality.
    • Advantages:
      • Debugging and testing are easy in the Iterative Model as small iterations are taken at a time.
      • Parallel development of other sub-components is possible.
      • Risk identification and correction are possible in this type of model.
    • Disadvantages:
      • The Iterative Model is not ideal for smaller projects because it is difficult to break down small systems into increments.
      • It requires more resources as parallel development is undertaken.
      • The final software delivery date cannot be specified, as requirement changes periodically.
Phases of V-Model

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  • V-Model: This model works on the principle of Verification and Validation, which requires that each stage of the SDLC be finished before moving on to the next. The Waterfall Model’s sequential design approach is followed here. The device’s testing is scheduled concurrently with the relevant stage of development.
    • Advantages:
      • As with the waterfall paradigm, it is fairly simple to comprehend and put into practice.
      • Developers save time since testing is performed before real coding.
      • Compared to other approaches, tracking project management is quite simple in this model.
    • Disadvantages:
      • The V-Model is not preferred for projects where requirements are not specified.
      • It is suitable for complex software projects, as they have a high risk of uncertainty.
  • RAD Model (Rapid Application Development Model): This model was developed and proposed by IBM. In this model, powerful development tools are used to deliver the proposed software. This model can only be used when modularity is possible in the software.
    • Advantages:
      • It promotes component reusability and reduces the time for development.
      • It requires less number of developers and the delivery quality of the software is better.
      • User feedback can be obtained at the initial stage.
    • Disadvantages:
      • High-skilled manpower is required as powerful tools are used.
      • User involvement is required throughout the development life cycle.
      • It is only meant for large-scale projects where modularity is possible.
  • Incremental Model: Software development using the Incremental Model divides requirements into several independent software development modules. Each module in this paradigm undergoes the steps of requirements, design, implementation, and testing.
    • Advantages:
      • Error identification and rectification are very easy in the Incremental Model.
      • It is easy to test and debug.
      • Potential risk factors are handled in every iteration.
    • Disadvantages:
      • The total cost of development is very high.
      • Well-defined modules are needed.
  • Spiral Model: Risk handling was first introduced in the Spiral Model. It combines the concepts of both iterative and waterfall models and is ideal for complex, expensive, and difficult-to-implement software development projects. In this model, the whole process is implemented in a loop till the desired output is achieved.
    • Phases of Spiral Model:
      • Objective assessment
      • Identification and rectification of risks
      • Development of the next versions
      • Review, analyze, and plan ahead
    • Advantages:
      • Risk analysis can be conducted at every stage. 
      • It is the preferred method for large and complex projects.
      • It has flexible requirements which means it can incorporate changes made in later stages of the project.
    • Disadvantages:
      • It is more complex than other SDLC models.
      • The cost of implementing this development model is very high.
      • The time taken to implement this method is longer than that of others.
  • Agile Model: In the Agile Model, all the requirements are broken down into smaller parts and developed incrementally. These incremental parts are developed over iterations.
    • The Agile SDLC model incorporates the following steps:
      • Gathering requirements
      • Analysis
      • Design
      • Unit tests
      • Validation testing
    • Advantages:
      • Software developed through this process is less prone to errors.
      • The total development time is minimized.
      • A feedback path is available which makes it easier to incorporate changes in later stages.
    • Disadvantages:
      • Proper documentation is absent in Agile Models which makes them prone to potential problems if the project is shifted to other developers.

Go through our Software Engineering and Computer Science blog to get your confusion clear between them.

Applications of Software Engineering

Application of Software Engineering

Software is widely utilized in a variety of industries, including healthcare, banking, education, defense, and stock markets. Engineers develop industry and application-specific software for diverse clients. 

  • Web and Networking Software:
    • It is a type of software that acts as a connection interface between computer systems and data storage.
    • It includes the software needed to manage the network and its peripherals associated with a computer system.
    • Languages like PHP, HTML, etc are used to develop Networking Software.
    • The best example of Networking Software is the World Wide Web.
  • Embedded Software: 
    • This type of software is directly embedded into the hardware of devices.
    • Embedded Software is used where an integrating interface is needed between a computer system and a non-computer device.
    • Embedded Software is used in the field of medicine, aviation, automotive, etc.
  • Reservation Software:
    • A Reservation System is generally used to save, retrieve, and complete transactions for activities like air travel, automobile rentals, hotel stays, and others.
    • Even though they aren’t usually connected to the main system, they offer access to bookings for buses and trains. 
    • In the hospitality sector, this software is utilized to transmit computerized information to users, facilitate reservations, and guarantee that facilities are not overbooked.
  • Business Software:
    • The most popular type of software falls under this category, which supports business applications. 
    • Examples include accounting, banking, medical, education, the stock market, and software for inventory management.
  • Education and Entertainment-associated Software:
    • Software for education and entertainment offers educational organizations, particularly those who work with young children, a potent tool. 
    • A few examples are computer games, instructional games, translation software, mapping software, and many more.
  • Utility Software:
    • Utility Software help maintain the functionality of a computer system and differ from other software in terms of size, expense, and complexity. 
    • Examples include speech recognition software, compression applications, and antivirus software.
  • Science and Research-related Software:
    • Software for science and engineering is used to carry out enterprise-specific tasks. 
    • Such software is created utilizing formulas, methodologies, and concepts relevant to the application in question. 
    • MATLAB, AUTOCAD, PSPICE, ORCAD, etc. are examples of this type of software.

Advantages of Software Engineering

Below mentioned are the benefits of having a foundational understanding of Software Engineering.

  • Learning about the various concepts of Software Engineering makes you stand out from the competition during interviews.
  • Having a strong grip on the domain of Software Engineering helps you to work more professionally in the industry.
  • It is also seen that if you are in touch with the domain of Software Engineering, you get a significantly higher salary than the employees who don’t.
  • It provides you with better job prospects and hence increases your demand in the industry.

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Software Engineering is a branch of computer science that deals with the designing and development of software. It involves applying engineering principles and methodologies to create software products that meet the needs of users and are reliable, efficient, and scalable. Software engineering plays a critical role in modern society, as software systems have become an essential part of our daily lives. 

Overall, Software Engineering is an exciting and challenging field that offers great opportunities for individuals who are passionate about technology and problem-solving.

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