SA’s Software Engineering Community Finds its Voice

The IEEE Computer Society of South Africa and Cape IT Initiative (CITi) have published the Proceeding of the Third Software Engineering Colloquium (SE10), entitled “Building Value through Engineering”. This is a summary of the papers presented at one of the top technical conferences on software engineering in South Africa, and will make thought provoking reading for professionals in the IT industry, which is key to SA’s ability to compete globally.

There were ten main areas under review in the Colloquium, including certification and skills development, compliance and privacy, ‘agile’ programming in the enterprise, investment and R&D, professionalizing FOSS, implementing awards and recognition for outstanding work done in the field, and cloud computing.

Held on the 16 March 2010 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cape Town, 126 senior software engineers and engineering managers assembled to discuss ways of building the software development industry in South Africa. The Colloquium was intended to be a structured discussion between academia, industry and government.

SE10 ended with an award to Professor Jean Cleymans (of the University of Cape Town) and Dr Zeblon Vilakazi (Director of iThemba Labs) for a particularly noteworthy local software project: The UCT-CERN group at the University of Cape Town and iThemba Laboratories wrote the software for the High Level Trigger for the ALICE experiment at the CERN research facility in Switzerland.

An immediate success of the event was a large scale showcase of South African developers at the International Computer Society Event 2010 event held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in May 2010. Jenny McKinnell, executive director of CITi (Cape IT Initiative) confirmed that a follow-up event would be held in March 2011.

Dr David Hislop, a founder of the Colloquium and director of pioneering mobile platforms developer Korwe Software, commented: “Software development is a creative discipline that creates massive amounts of value for society as a whole. However, we should not expect that the traditional tools of business and engineering should continue to work as the technology environment – and the people and countries central to developing it – changes. The Colloquium is a vital forum to give South Africa’s software engineers a voice – with each other, and the wider professional community.”

The IEEE Computer Society Chapter of South Africa coordinated the technical agenda of a Colloquium on Software Engineering (SE10) under the umbrella of CITi. SE10 is the third in the series after SE07 and SE05.

The fourth full-scale Colloquium is being planned for August 2011. The Black IT Forum (BITF), in conjunction with local industry bodies such as CITi and other professional bodies, will be hosting the event, with the IEEE-CS SA offering technical support once again.

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SA’s Software Engineering Community Finds its Voice